Breast lipoma – causes, symptoms, treatment
Does breast lipoma mean cancer?
A lipoma is a benign tumour which is not dangerous. It is a benign tumour of the connective tissue. Lipomas do not have a specific shape, are painless and movable. Lipomas should be thoroughly observed and regularly examined as they have a tendency to grow.
Causes of lipomas
Lipomas generally develop in hypodermis, but are also found inside the body in proximity to the internal organs, on the skin, in the heart and breasts. They may appear anywhere. Sometimes they are just single lumps, and sometimes they occur in large numbers (multiple lipomas). The underlying cause of developing lipomas is still obscure and lipomas are formed mainly by mature fat cells called adipocytes. It is possible that the interaction between cells of the immune system and inflammatory factors may drive the growth and division of healthy mature fat cells. Genetic predispositions may also play a role here as multiple lipomas are sometimes observed in several members of the same family.
Treatment – are lipomas removed surgically?
If a lipoma is less than several centimetres in diameter, generally no action is taken apart from observation. However, if it grows in size and becomes painful, it must be removed.
How to diagnose a lipoma?
Usually during breast palpation and ultrasound, the physician is able to determine if a given lump in the breast is a lipoma. In some cases, additional tests such as biopsy may be required as some lipomas may develop into malignant tumours. Every lump which raises doubts of a physician should be thoroughly examined to make sure that it is not malignant.