I just found a lump in my breast. What should I do now?
First of all, don't panic.
Fortunately, the majority of breast lumps turn out to be non-malignant. Having said that, every breast lump deserves further evaluation by your primary care physician or a surgeon, so call and schedule an appointment. Early diagnosis and treatment is an important determinant of a successful outcome in breast cancer.
Your doctor will perform a careful physical examination and based upon his or her findings may schedule you for either a diagnostic digital mammogram or an ultrasound or both depending upon your age. If your breast lump cannot be visualized by either diagnostic test, it may be appropriate to remove it in order to exclude breast cancer as a possibility. If however, your breast lump is visualized, an aspiration or a biopsy might be recommended to further investigate. The majority of these image guided biopsies can be performed under local anesthesia on an outpatient basis.
If it is determined that the lump is malignant, you should be evaluated by a surgeon to discuss the best surgical treatment option for you. Your physician can help you select one who practices breast cancer surgery.