Breast cysts

Seen in fibrocystic disease of the breast.

A breast cyst refers to a fluid-filled sac within the breast. 



Described as round or oval lumps with distinct edges. 



A breast cyst usually feels like a soft grape or a water-filled balloon.



A breast cyst  sometimes feels firm.



Breast cysts can manifest with pain, and may be worrisome but are generally benign. 



Most  commonly occur in pre-menopausal women in their 30s or 40s. 


Breast cyst

Signs and symptoms of breast cysts include:

A smooth, easily movable round or oval breast lump with distinct edges

Breast pain or tenderness in the area of the lump

Increased lump size and tenderness just before menstruation

Decreased lump size and resolution of other signs and symptoms after menstruation

They can be confused with infections that form on the nipple or the areola. 

A common cyst look-alike is a localized infection of a duct in the nipple. 

Fluid leaking from a cyst, as may occur  with puncture or vigorous compression during mammography, or due to seat belt injury in the course of an automobile accident

The cystic breast lump can be confirmed by ultrasound examination, aspiration or mammogram. 

Ultrasound can also show if the cyst contains solid nodules, a sign that the lesion may be pre-cancerous or cancerous. 

Breast ultrasound is considered the best option when diagnosing breast cysts as it is 95 to 100% accurate.

Breast ultrasound  provides a clear image on the cyst’s appearance as a simple or complex cyst.

Breast ultrasound may distinguish between solid lumps and fluid-filled cysts, which a mammogram cannot do.

Simple cysts are usually benign and do not require any treatment or further diagnostic workup. 

Breast cysts may remain stable for many years or may resolve spontaneously.

Some complex cysts may require further diagnostic measures.

Most  complex cysts  are of benign nature.

Aspiration can provide both a diagnosis and removes cyst fluid at the same time. 

Cysts usually resolve on their own after the fluid is drained. 

Draining the fluid from a breast cyst can ease symptoms.

Of the lump is not cystic it is a sign that the breast lump is solid, and the lesion requires biopsy.

Breast  cysts may be prevented to some degree: practicing good health and avoiding certain medications, eating a balanced diet, taking necessary vitamins and supplements, getting exercise, avoiding stress, reducing caffeine.

Also reducing salt intake may help in alleviating the symptoms of breast cysts.

Excessive sugar consumption, and  food allergies,may  contribute to cyst development.

If cysts are aspirated and the fluid looks normal, they do not require any other management.

Oral contraceptive hormone therapy, is sometimes prescribed to reduce their recurrence and to regulate the menstrual cycle of the patient

Danazol is usually considered in patients on whom the non-medical treatment fails and the symptoms are intense.

Surgical removal of a breast cyst is : uncomfortable recurrent breast cyst month after month, or if a breast cyst contains blood-tinged fluid and displays other worrisome signs.

The occurrence of breast cysts is males rare.

Cysts and bra support Edit

A properly fitted sports bra, which compresses or encapsulates breast tissue, may reduce pain.


Estimated that 7% of women in the western world develop palpable breast cysts.


Breast cysts usually disappear after menopause.

They may persist or reappear when using hormone therapy.


Cysts form as a result of the growth of the milk glands and their size may range from smaller than a pea to larger than a ping pong ball size.

Discomfort  caused by cysts may be alleviated by draining the fluid from the cyst. 

Most breast cysts, regardless of their size cannot be identified during physical exams.

Breast cysts are common in adolescents.

Breast cysts can be part of fibrocystic disease. 

The pain and swelling associated with breast cysts is usually worse in the second half of the menstrual cycle or during pregnancy.

Treating breast cysts is usually not necessary: unless they are large and cause pain or discomfort. 


Fluid aspirated should be discarded and only grossly bloody fluid submitted for cytology examination.

A complex cyst on ultrasound requires aspiration to be sure there is no solid component, and any solid component that remains should be biopsied.

If cyst fluid is not bloody and no mass remains after aspiration the fluid need not be submitted for cytological examination.

10% of cysts will recur following aspiration.

Rapidly recurring cysts should be reaspirated and the fluid sent for cytological examination.

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