Feeling lumps in your breast when self-diagnosing breast cancer is a scary situation, one that can leave many women in a state of panic. However, there is a chance that you are feeling lumps caused by fat necrosis, a non-serious condition that often mimics breast cancer.
What Is Fat Necrosis?
Fat necrosis is a build up of calcium in your breasts that is typically caused by injury or damage to the fatty tissues of your breasts. For example, if you are hit hard in the chest by a softball or trip and fall on your chest, you might cause the kind of damage that leads to fat necrosis. The blood supply to the fat cells within is disrupted, leading to the death of the cell.
Your body, noticing the death of the cells, starts releasing enzymes that break up the fat into easier to transport molecules. This will lead to the calcium build ups that make up this condition. Unfortunately, these build ups often get large enough to create lumps that are easy to mistake for cancer in a mammogram.
How Is It Differentiated From Breast Cancer?
The lumps of fat necrosis vary heavily in appearance, having an often irregular appearance. Telling it apart from breast cancer requires a very skilled mammographer. Typically, fat necrosis will often resemble small "bubbles" in your breasts, rather than large cancerous lumps. They also have a slightly different color than breast cancer, due to their calcium nature, being more white than black.
Am I At Risk For Breast Cancer From This Condition?
Women who develop fat necrosis often worry that it can somehow lead to breast cancer. The feeling is understandable, but thankfully, fat necrosis does not increase your risk for breast cancer. It is simply a build up of fatty tissues, not an overgrowth of actively cancerous tissues. Fat necrosis will typically stop growing after awhile. That said, fat necrosis may be unsightly or could lead to potential misdiagnoses of breast cancer in the future. Surgery is possible for this condition, and it should take very little time.
Should I Get Surgery Anyway?
Fat necrosis is not a dangerous condition, but severe instances of it may lead to pain. This is especially true in cases where the calcium count is very heavy. Treating this condition is relatively easy. In cases of very small deposits, it may just go away on its own. Sometimes, all that is needed is a diuretic to remove excessive calcium levels. In cases where the fat necrosis either spreads or becomes large enough to cover a significant portion of your breast, surgery may be required.
Knowing the difference between these two conditions can help you know what kind of treatment is necessary. It can also help give you increased peace of mind. Breast cancer is a truly scary situation, while fat necrosis only seems scary until you understand it further.
However, if you do find out that you have breast cancer, look into breast cancer treatment right away.Share