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Ask the doctor what the lump could be and why he or she thinks so. Tell the doctor about any changes you have noted in your breasts, including pain or tenderness; differences in size or shape; dimpling, puckering, or retraction of the nipple; flaking skin on the nipple; or nipple discharge. If the doctor recommends a mammogram (a soft-tissue X-ray of the breast) and one is taken, find out what the results are. Ask how this mammogram compares to any previous ones that are available. Inquire if a biopsy should be made, and if not, why not.

Because the majority of lumps found in women's breasts turn out to be fibrocystic disease, do not panic if you find a lump. But do not put off seeing your doctor. The assumption that a lump in the breast is merely a noncancerous cyst is not only naive but may be extremely dangerous. Furthermore, if you have experienced long-term problems with cysts of the breasts (fibrocystic disease), do not accept a wait-and-watch approach if a new lump develops. Ask your doctor to biopsy the lump or, at the least, to arrange for another mammogram.