This post is especially for all of you out there with sons. After last night’s parents evening disaster (more on that later), Damien dropped another bombshell this morning while he was brushing his teeth, and in all the reading I have done, I have NEVER. EVER. NOT ONCE come across this. And it’s really not often you get to have a heart attack and a nervous breakdown before breakfast!
Damien: “Mom, I’ve got a lump behind my nipple.”
I immediately start doing my impression of the calm-organised-educated-composed-never-flustered-all-knowing-mom that I am (NOT).
Me: “Can I feel it?”
Damien: “Mm-hm.” (with a mouth full of toothpaste)
And there it was, just under the skin of his left nipple. It felt about the size of a marble. I wonder if Damien could hear heart beating. Did he see the cold sweat on my brow?
Me: “Does it hurt?”
Damien: “Sometimes, after gymnastics strength exercises.”
My heart sinks, I hesitate and ask: “How long has it been there?”
Damien: “About a week, but it’s bigger now.”
Me: (in my head) “Aaaaaaaaargh! HEEEEELP! OMG! WTF do I do now!?” (out loud) “Okay. We’ll go to the doctor and have it looked at.”
I think I deserve and Oscar for that little performance. Five minutes later he walked out the door to catch his lift to school and I burst into tears. Within the space of about five minutes I ran the whole gamut of emotions- terror, panic, anger, sadness, selfishness, of course there was the “why me?” and the “why him?” I think I even invented a few new ones! I could hardly drive. I phoned my doctor but she wasn’t in yet. I don’t even remember leaving the house. Then God whacked me on the back of the head and said: “Hey! Google it!” Oh, thank you God for giving someone the talent to invent Google!
So I Googled while I drove, shocking yes, but I couldn’t wait till I got to the office. My first search was for “teenage male breast lumps” and returned an incredible 370,000 results!
Here is the first one I read: http://www.breastcare.com/bcc/research/malebreastcancer.asp
2. Male breast lumps:
Teens: the significance of a male breast lump is in large part related to a patient’s age. Breast lumps are common in teenage males. The lumps are almost always due to hormonal changes, and for the most part they go away on their own. These breast lumps are referred to as gynecomastia. Most of these lumps are followed by the pediatrician. If the lump has unusual physical characteristics, if it becomes a cosmetic problem, or there are concerns from the parents, these patients are often referred to a surgeon. In select cases surgical removal of the lump is appropriate. In most cases, however, the lump will slowly resolve on its own. Although testicular tumors are unusual in this age group, we always perform a testicular examination in these patients (see next section).
Breast lump in boy
Dr. Warren: i have a 15 year old son who just this weekend showed me a lump in his breast, beneath the nipple. I very seldom see him without a shirt and was shocked at the size of this lump. He has had no injury; there is no redness or pain except for the immediate areola area. He did not want me to worry and has “hiding it” from his father and i for about 7 months now. It is a firm lump about 2-3 inches in diameter. His other breast is completely normal in feel and appearance. Is there a chance this is a hormonal problem? I am in the process of finding a physician for our family, will this wait a week until we are established or do i need to do something now i’m pretty scared -f
Dear f: it is fairly common for boys in early adolescence to have breast engorgement as a result of the hormonal changes of puberty. This is not a hormonal problem, but simply the normal course of events for some boys. It does not have to be symmetrical. Some boys may only have swelling of one breast. It is perhaps a bit unusual for the swelling to be as large as you describe without any enlargement of the other breast. Of course, you should get it checked by a doctor to be sure that the swelling is just breast tissue. After 7 months, it is not suddenly an emergency, so you should find a doctor and make an appointment rather than running to an emergency room. Sincerely, dr. Warren
Sometimes tender breast enlargement or a lump beneath the nipple is found in teenage boys. The enlargement may be small or fairly noticeable. This is called gynecomastia and is common in boys during mid-puberty. It is a response to changing hormones and resolves over a period of months. Significant enlargement may be psychologically stressful, but treatment consists of reassurance and time. Only rarely is surgery necessary.
I still intend taking him to the doctor- since I have no idea what different lumps feel like (apparently there are lots of different ones) and of course because as I’m sure you’ve all noticed- when it comes to Damien I am more than a little compulsive, obsessed, neurotic and paranoid. I will let you know what the doctor says.