Breast cysts are single or multiple fluid-filled sacs inside the breast. They are usually benign, which means they are not cancerous. These cysts often feel soft like a grape or a water-filled balloon, but can be firm as well. They occur most commonly in women before menopause (below 50 years of age) but can also occur in postmenopausal women (above 50 years).
Since they are benign, they usually do not require treatment unless they cause discomfort or are painful. They are caused by the accumulation of fluid in the lobules of the glandular tissue of the breast. You can get to know about the nature of the cyst after getting a full detailed evaluation. Before that, you can not predict if it is cancerous or benign. Therefore never take it lightly. If you feel a lump in either your breasts or underarms, you must visit the healthcare provider soon. Never delay the visit because it can be cancerous. Early detection can help treat the condition. Sometimes if it is detected too late, it might not be treatable. To get an expert opinion, you can visit a General Physician in Lahore.
Signs and symptoms of a breast cyst are as follows:
● A breast cyst can be a smooth, movable, round lump with smooth edges (benign)
● Breast cysts may be accompanied by nipple discharge that may be clear, yellow, straw-colored, or dark brown.
● You may feel pain or tenderness in the area of the breast lump
● You may notice an increase in breast lump just before your period and a decrease in size after
The diagnosis of breast cysts usually includes
● Breast examination.
● Imaging tests ( ultrasound, mammography, fine need aspiration test, breast biopsy)
If you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms, consult a doctor. Your doctor will discuss the symptoms and will take a detailed history.
Then comes the breast examination when your doctor will look for any other breast abnormalities or other cysts. To confirm if the lump on your breast is a cyst or not, your doctor will have to go for some additional tests mentioned below.
● Macrocysts can be viewed with mammography. But it can be difficult to see micro-cysts on a mammogram.
● Ultrasonography can help your doctor make a diagnosis of whether a breast lump is fluid-filled or solid
● If a fluid area appears on an ultrasound, that means it is a breast cyst
● A solid-appearing mass on ultrasound may or may not be a noncancerous lump which can be confirmed on a biopsy.
In this method, a thin needle is inserted into the lump to aspirate the fluid. If the breast lump immediately disappears after withdrawing the fluid, it means it’s a breast cyst.
● If the fluid is not bloody but rather has a straw-colored appearance and the breast lump disappears, no further testing is required.
● If the withdrawn fluid is bloody and the breast lump doesn’t disappear on aspirating the fluid, further lab tests can be done, and you may be referred to a radiologist.
For more information, the doctor can perform the following tests.
● Breast biopsy
● Hormonal therapy – Using birth control pills (oral contraceptives) to control your menstrual cycles may help reduce the recurrence of breast cysts.
● Surgery to remove a breast cyst is essential only in unusual circumstances. Surgery may be considered if a painful breast cyst recurs month after month or if a breast cyst contains blood-stained fluid or shows other alarming signs.
The Bottom Line
Breast cysts can be benign or cancerous. Therefore you can not take them lightly. If you have any symptoms of a breast cyst, you must see the healthcare provider soon. To get an expert opinion, you can consult with General Physicians in Saifee Hospital.