On Saturday morning when I got up for work I was in tons of pain. A portion of my right breast was raging red and inflamed. I felt around the area to see if there was anything else going on and I did find a hard nodule/lump near the nipple area. I took some ibuprofen and by Sunday most of the pain subsided. I called my mom on Sunday night after work to get her opinion (she's worked off and on in health care for 20 years). Based on my description she figured it was a cyst, but suggested that I not sit on it and get into the doctor right away.
I left school early to see my GYN on Monday and after examining the lump my doctor was able to say whatever it was it was infected! She also felt it was most likely a cyst. I started on antibiotics that night. I was sent for an ultrasound on Wednesday at the Betty Ford Breast Care Center which is an amazing facility! The ultrasound and examination by the radiologist concluded that I have a sebaceous cyst. The radiologist also checked the surrounding tissues for any abnormalities or abscesses that needed to be drained. My breast was negative for both and otherwise healthy! I will finish my course of antibiotics and continue to monitor the mass for any changes.
The thing is, if I hadn't been in pain I probably wouldn't have noticed the lump so quickly. I never do self breast exams and overall don't pay much attention to breast health.
Do self breast exams monthly. In any circumstance - whether it's your breast, your back, your stomach - if it's abnormal, see your doctor. Don't be embarrassed to go because your afraid it will turn out to be nothing. It could be nothing, or it could be something. Take charge of your own health!