Dear Doctor: I have lumpy boobs. Should I be worried?

Dear Doctor,

My boyfriend and I were messing around the other night, and he was touching my boobs (because... foreplay). Everything was normal, and then he sort of just stopped and looked totally freaked out. He said he'd felt a lump in one of my boobs, which was obviously an instant mood killer. I wasn't worried at first, I've kind of always had lumpy boobs – they're not very big and when I do my self-checks, there are always lumpy BITS. I've brought it up with doctors in the past, but I still feel really unsure how to tell which lumps I should be worried about and which ones I shouldn’t, and the more I've been thinking about it, the more I'm freaking out that I SHOULD be worried. There's just so much information out there these days, I'm feeling totally overwhelmed and scared that I'll miss something serious. What should I do?

Talitha, 32


Hi Talitha, 

I get it – the overwhelm is real. There is so much information out there about different health concerns and what we should be doing to reduce our risk of disease

A big part of being a GP is what I like to call ‘therapeutic harassment’. I promise, it is therapeutic even when it feels like your GP is nagging you. It’s our role to ensure patients are up to date with all the recommended screening and lifestyle measures to optimise their health. So, my advice is to find a lovely GP who you feel comfortable with and they can help keep track of all your screening tests and get to know your individual health needs.

But back to 'lumpy' boobs! It's common for women under the age of 40 to have dense and fibrous breast tissue. This can make it difficult to work out which lumps and bumps are concerning and which ones aren’t. 

My first tip is to get to know your boobs. Like a first date, it may feel a bit weird and awkward at first, but it is the best way to keep track of your breast health.


Stand in front of a mirror and have a good look at your breasts – the skin, your nipples, the shape. It’s also important to feel them regularly when you’re in the shower – I recommend about once every month. By doing this, you will learn the normal shapes and contours of your breast. A breast self-exam guide can be found here.

My next tip is to not panic if you do feel a lump. I know, I know. So much easier said than done! There’s not too many of us that haven’t had a mild panic at some point about our breast health. But reassuringly, more than 95 per cent of breast lumps are benign or not harmful.

Just make GP appointment as soon as you can if you have any concerns about the way they look and feel. So, in your case Talitha, I would recommend seeing your GP for a breast exam, as we are the experts in knowing which lumps and bumps are normal and which ones need further investigation with imaging or biopsy.

For women with a family history of breast cancer, I also recommend completing this self-assessment tool, that will help determine your risk and when you should start having regular mammograms and breast checks.

Dr Rebecca Goadby is a General Practitioner who is passionate about the health of women through every stage of their lives. Her approach is compassionate and holistic, with a focus on preventative medicine and mental health wellbeing.

Information found in this column is not meant to be a substitute for proper medical advice – please contact your doctor or a health professional to discuss your own medical needs.

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Feature image: Getty. 

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