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Possible cause and action Some women have lumpier breasts than others. Lumps are usually more obvious before a period. If you are particularly worried, consult your doctor, who will examine your breasts to make sure that there are no individual lumps that require investigation. Naturally lumpy breasts do not require treatment and do not increase the risk of breast cancer.

possible causes A change in a nipple may be a sign of breast cancer. However, normal aging may also cause a nipple to become indrawn. Consult your doctor.

action Your doctor will examine your breasts and will probably arrange for tests such as mammography (above) to exclude a problem deeper in the breast.

Has this developed recently?

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r Possible cause and action If your nipple has always been drawn in, this is not a cause for concern, although it may make breast-feeding difficult. Wearing a nipple shell inside your bra during pregnancy may help to draw the nipple out in preparation for breast-feeding.

possible causes Nipple discharge is usually due to hormone changes and is no cause for concern. In rare cases, a cancerous or noncancerous growth affecting a milk duct is the cause. Consult your doctor.

action The doctor will examine your breasts and may arrange for mammography (above) to exclude an abnormality in the underlying breast tissue. Treatment is often not necessary, but occasionally affected milk ducts may need to be removed surgically.

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