Breast Lumps (Female)


All new persistent unexplained discrete breast lumps require referral for further assessment (vis urgent suspected cancer form) and will be seen within 2 weeks with imaging if appropriate. The imaging may be at the initial appointment or the patient may be asked to return for a separate imaging appointment.


Referral not usually required on first presentation to GP if:

  • Under age 30 years  in whom the sole abnormality is asymmetrical nodularity or thickening that has been present for less than one complete menstrual cycle, without other risk factors such as significant family history of breast or ovarian cancer (See Family History of Breast Cancer RMS page here).
  • Under age 30 years in whom the sole abnormality is bilateral symmetrical nodularity

The presence of pain does not increase the level of urgency for referral in these cases. Please see Breast Pain guidance for advice regarding initial management of breast pain.  See Breast Pain guidelines


These patients should be re-examined after menstruation / 2-3 weeks and referred if:

  • Persisting discrete lump / asymmetric nodularity 
  • Development of other breast symptoms


Patients should be referred if there are skin changes (see RMS breast skin changes page here) that may be suggestive of breast cancer: Such as tethering / contour change / peau d’orange.

Men – See Gynaecomastia and Male Breast Lump advice here 



Date Reviewed                              November 2021

Next Review Date                          November 2022

Author                                            Dr I Boyd, RMS GP Sifter

Reviewed By                                  Dr M Attridge, RMS GP Sifter

Contributor                                     Dr Rebecca Osborne, GPwSI Breast, RCHT