It is important to remember that a lump or other changes in the breast, or an abnormal area on a mammogram, may be caused by cancer or by other, less serious problems.
To determine the cause of any signs or symptoms, your physician will perform a careful physical exam that includes a personal and family medical history as well as determining current overall health status. In addition, an examination may include the following:
palpation - carefully feeling the lump and the tissue around it - its size, its texture, and whether it moves easily. Benign lumps often feel different from cancerous ones.
nipple discharge examination - fluid may be collected from spontaneous nipple discharge and then sent to the lab to look for cancer cells. Most nipple secretions are not cancer, as an injury, infection, or benign tumor may cause discharge.