1. Breast lumps
2. Breast pain
3. Rash under the breast
4. Other common breast conditions
5. Less common conditions
6. Seeing your GP

Benign (not cancer) breast conditions are very common.

Most breast changes, such as breast lumps or breast pain, are not signs of breast cancer. 

However, if you notice a lump or any other change that’s new for you, see your GP as soon as possible. 

1. Breast lumps

Breast lumps can have a number of different causes.

It’s important to get any breast lumps checked by your doctor as a lump can be a sign of cancer

Common causes of breast lumps

Common causes of breast lumps include:

  • breast cyst – a fluid-filled sac that can develop as the breasts change with age
  • fibroadenoma – a lump that often develops during puberty, but which can occur at any age

Less common causes of breast lumps

Less common causes of breast lumps include:

2. Breast pain 

Breast pain is very common in women of all ages. 

Find out about what causes breast pain and how to manage it.

3. Rash under the breast

A rash under your breast or breasts, between the folds of skin, is usually caused by a skin condition called intertrigo

It’s a very common condition that can occur throughout life. 

4. Other common breast conditions 

Other common benign breast conditions include:

  • breast calcifications – these don’t cause any noticeable symptoms and are usually found during breast screening or an investigation for another breast problem
  • periductal mastitis – occurs when the ducts (tubes) under the nipple become inflamed and infected, causing a tender, hot or reddened breast
  • gynaecomastia – an enlargement of breast tissue in men, usually affecting teenage boys and older men

5. Less common conditions 

Less common benign breast conditions include:

  • hyperplasia and atypical hyperplasia – more common in women over 35, these conditions don’t usually cause any symptoms
  • Mondor’s disease – caused by inflammation of a vein just under the skin of the breast or chest wall 
  • sclerosing lesions of the breast – an area of hardened breast tissue, more common in women in their 30s and 40s
  • duct ectasia – a result of normal breast changes that happen with age, which doesn’t usually cause any symptoms
  • lobular neoplasia – usually found during a biopsy or test being done for another breast symptom or change, often in women aged 40 to 50

6. Seeing your GP

Even though most breast changes will not be cancer, it’s still important to find out what is causing a change.

Your GP will examine your breasts. They may decide there’s no need for further investigation, or they may refer you to a breast clinic for further tests.

Last reviewed: July 2019
Next planned review begins 2021

Your feedback