Dr. Shelly Sharma
MBBS, DNB( Radiodiagnosis ). Observorship in Breast Imaging , Mayo Clinic, USA. Fellowship in Ultrasound guided Tumor ablation , Samsung Medical Centre, South Korea. Fellowship in onco radiology , National Cancer Centre, Singapore.
(2 Mins Read)
All palpable breast lumps are not breast cancer!
Breast cysts are one of the most common causes of a breast lump and are benign (non cancerous lumps) in nature. These are like “little fluid filled balloons” , which are thought to develop naturally due to effect of age related hormone level changes on breasts. These generally are more than one in number and may involve either or both breasts. Most commonly these are found in women over 35 years of age. Once a women attains menopause and her hormone (estrogen) levels fall, cysts usually stop forming. However menopausal women who receive hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may still get cysts.
The cysts can be of variable sizes and can be soft or hard in feel. These can develop quickly anywhere in the breast. For some women cysts may be painful specially around time of periods. They may also feel a change in the size and appearance of cysts with their menstrual cycle. Many a times women may have cysts which they may not be able to feel at all and are incidentally detected on breast examinations.
If you feel a lump, do get yourself evaluated by a doctor who then may refer you for investigations like mammography or a breast ultrasound. Most of the times if the breast lump is a simple cyst, these are left untouched. Sometimes if the cyst is large or causing discomfort then your doctor and radiologist may decide to aspirate the cyst and send the fluid for cytological examination. You will not usually need any treatment or follow-up for simple cysts and most of these may go away by themselves. Don’t feel anxious and worry about breast cysts.
There is no known way to prevent breast cysts. These can keep coming back or you may develop new cysts. Every time you feel a lump or notice any changes in your breasts have yourself evaluated by a doctor, regardless of how soon these changes occur after your cysts were diagnosed.
Be Breast Aware ! Do not attribute newly palpable breast lumps to cysts on your own and have yourself evaluated every time you feel a lump.
This information is for general guidance and reflects the opinions and experience of the author. It is not intended to replace specialist consultation or provide treatment advice for specific cases