What are non-cancerous breast lumps?
Non-cancerous, or benign, breast lumps are very common and most women may experience them. While most of the changes that occur in the breast are not life-threatening, some benign lumps are linked with a higher risk of developing breast cancer later on. Some lumps can cause symptoms that are similar to breast cancer, so it can be difficult to tell the difference from symptoms alone. A mammogram can be performed to detect cancer and other issues, so if you have a lump in your breast, schedule an appointment with your OB/GYN. Your symptoms or mammogram results can help your doctor to determine cause and next steps.
What are some of the most common non-cancerous breast conditions?
Many breast lumps are caused by fibrosis and/or cysts. Both are benign changes in breast tissue that can affect women of any age, though they are more common during childbearing ages. Fibrosis refers to a large amount of fibrous tissue, which make up scar tissue and ligaments. Areas of fibrosis feel firm, rubbery, or hard to the touch. Cysts are round, moveable lumps that can feel tender. They are fluid-filled, oval or round sacs within the breasts. Cysts are often found in women in their 40s, but they can occur at any age. The menstrual cycle will often cause cysts to become more painful, bigger, and more noticeable. They develop when there is a build up of fluid inside the breast glands.
Can fibrosis or cysts increase my risk for breast cancer?
No, simply put, cysts and fibrosis do not increase your risk of developing breast cancer. Complex cysts are more of a concern, however, as there is a small chance that they might contain cancer or put you at risk of developing it later. A biopsy can help to determine whether a cyst is cancerous or not.
How are cysts and fibrosis treated?
Cysts may naturally go away over time. If they are causing you pain, cyst fluid can be drained with a thin, hollow needle. Removing the fluid can help to reduce pain and pressure for some time. If a cyst continues to come back and causes pain, surgery can be performed to remove it. Most women with fibrocystic changes don’t require treatment if there aren’t any associated symptoms. If you feel mild discomfort from fibrosis, you can reduce your symptoms by applying heat to the area or by taking over-the-counter pain relievers.
Request an appointment in the San Fernando Valley
If you have a lump in your breast that you’re concerned about, schedule an appointment at Premier Women’s Health Associates in West Hills, California. Our board-certified OB/GYN’s can perform a breast exam and a biopsy, if necessary. Request an appointment online by filling out the form on our website, or give us a call at (818) 346-5000.