Parents – Be Aware and Beware of Breast “Lumps” in Late Childhood or Preadolescent Females (6 to 12 Years Old)

Parents – Be Aware and Beware of Breast “Lumps” in Late Childhood or Preadolescent Females (6 to 12 Years Old)

A “lump” palpated in the breast during late childhood or preadolescent (6 to 12 years old) may be a real lump that is associated with a disease that needs treatment or it may be a “lump” or false lump that is not associated with a disease and that does not need any form of treatment at all, other than a medical explanation.

Most “lumps” discovered in this stage of the child development are usually false lumps.  They are what is called as “thelarche” in medical parlance or “breast bud” in laymen’s term.  “Thelarche” or “breast bud” is the beginning of breast development at the onset of puberty.  It usually presents as a discoid “lump” right underneath the nipple-areola complex.

A “breast bud” that is removed by an unknowing physician will lead to no breast development during and after puberty and therefore, no resultant “adult” breasts at all in later life (or no “boobs”).   Beware of this potential disaster by consulting a breast specialist-physician when there is an advice to remove a breast “lump” in your daughter who is in her late childhood (6 to 12 years old).

In my more than 30 years of practice, I have “saved” at least 5 late childhood or preadolescent children with “breast buds” who were brought by their mothers to me for opinion after they were previously advised to undergo excision of the breast “lumps.”  By writing and publishing this advisory in the Net and social media like Facebook, I hope I can save more childhood or preadolescent children with “breast buds” from unnecessary surgery that will make them end up with being adult women without natural “boobs.”  This is one of the legacies to my patients, to the Filipino people.

Below are diagrams that show the usual 5 stages of breast development which I hope will reinforce the “Be Aware and Beware” objective of my advisory.  These stages were made by Dr. Tanner.  That is why it is popularly known as Tanner Stages.




Stage 1: only the papilla (nipple) is elevated above the level of the chest wall

Stage 2: breast budding- elevation of the areola and papilla may occur as small mounds along with some increased diameter of the areolae

Stage 3: enlargement of breast and areola with no separation of the contours

Stage 4: projection of areola and papilla to form a secondary mound above the level of the breast

Stage 5: recession of the areola to the general contour of the breast with projection of the papilla only (adult breast)

munoz_marianne_9yo_14feb22 (2)

MM, 9-year-old female with discoid “lump” directly beneath the right areola (breast bud).  Note the right nipple (papilla) and areola look bigger. A medical explanation was given together with an advice for check-up. (ROJ@14feb22)


Close-up view of right breast


Close-up view of left breast


January 14, 2016

7-year-old girl presenting with a “mass” on her right breast.  Given co-amoxyclav by a general practitioner for 7 days.  No response.  Came to me for consult.  Diagnosis: Breast bud, right.  Treatment: observe and let the breast bud grow into a full-blown breast.





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One Response to Parents – Be Aware and Beware of Breast “Lumps” in Late Childhood or Preadolescent Females (6 to 12 Years Old)

  1. Jane says:

    I have a daughter who had a breast lump on one side when she was 2 yo. I brought her to the doctor and have her breast ultrasound which turned out to be normal. After a year or 2 the lump disappear. When she was 6 yo. The lump began to appear again. I thought it was just like before and it will disappear again. But it did not. So when she was 8 the lump became bigger. So we went to the doctor again and have another breast ultrasound. The doctor said that the ultrasound looks fine and it was all just breast tissue that was bigger compared to the other breast which is totally flat. Now after a year her right breast became a little bigger just like in image III above. She said that it hurts when being touched. I am planning to send back to doctor in the next summer just to make sure everything is fine.

    Thanks for your post.

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