Help with Common Breast Problems

Breast Cysts

Breast cysts are probably the commonest cause for developing a discreet lump in the breast. Nearly every woman will have cysts in the breast at some time during her life. They are usually very small and women are not aware of these cyst until they have an ultrasound scan.

Breast cysts primarily develop as the result of hormonal changes in the breast and are uncommon after the menopause except in women who take hormone replacement treatment (HRT). Breast cysts can develop at any age, predominantly between 30 and 40 years old.

Breast cysts consist of a very thin lining of cells which originally derive from a small breast duct. The cyst is full of fluid which contains oestrogen. Cysts can develop very quickly over just a matter of days and this can sometimes lead to a lump that appears to have arisen almost overnight. Initially breast cysts are often quite sore or tender. Most breast cysts eventually disappear by themselves though this may take many months or even years. The size of the cyst can vary from just a small pinhead to something more like a golf ball.

Breast cysts are best diagnosed by an ultrasound scan. It is very unusual indeed to develop any serious consequences from breast cysts. It is only in very rare cases that breast cysts develop pre-cancerous changes.

Most surgeons will advise that breast cysts are left alone. If the cyst is large and uncomfortable a needle can be inserted in the cyst and the fluid contents withdrawn. The cyst will then disappear but they can, in some cases refill.

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