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Can a benign breast lump become cancerous?

Q: I am 48 years old and have attained menopause. I got married twenty years go. I have two sons. I developed a small lump in my left breast 15 years ago and got it removed by surgery. It was tested and there were no cancer tissues. After one year, I developed a lump in my right breast. I got its biopsy done and it was not cancerous either. I got it tested again after 3 years and was reported that it is not cancerous. The lump is painless and its size is not increasing. Should I continue with it or get it removed? Can the non-cancerous lump develop cancer? I don't want to take any risk. What are the precautions to be taken?

A:At your age, you need to get a mammogram (which is an x-ray of the breast) and an ultrasound examination done to evaluate the lumps in detail. From your query, I understand that the lumps must have had a needle biopsy. Although they are benign, as you have mentioned, only a detailed examination and above mentioned investigations will give a clue as to their exact nature. There is a small possibility that a benign lump in the breast may in course of time become cancerous although the risk is low. In your case, it is best you consult a surgeon or an oncologist and after the above investigations, they will probably advise you to have the lumps removed.

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