Fibrocystic Breast Disease

What is Fibrocystic Breast Disease?

Fibrocystic breast disease refers to benign changes that occur within the tissues of the breast. Those who suffer from this conditon may regularly notice changes in their breast, and may have one or two lumps. Discovering a lump in the breast is quite frightening. However, if you have fibrocystic breast disease, lumps or cysts are common. Because lumps are benign, women diagnosed with fibrocystic breast disease do not have breast cancer.

Risk Factors

Although doctors are unable to pinpoint why certain women develop fibrocystic breast disease, one theory is that the disease is caused by ovarian hormones. In most cases, fibrocystic breast disease tends to lessen after menopause.

This condition affects approximately 60% of women, and occurs more often during the ages of 30 and 50. Although rare, fibrocystic breast disease may also occur in young women and older women. Taking birth control pills has been known to decrease a women’s risk. Other risk factors for fibrocystic breast disease include a family history of the disease, poor eating habits, and high caffeine intake.

Symptoms of Fibrocystic Breast Disease

� Bump or lump on the breast
� Breast discomfort
� Feeling of heaviness in breast
� Nipple itching

Diagnosing Fibrocystic Breast Disease

During a physical exam, physicians will likely inspect the breast for lumps, masses, and other abnormalities. If abnormalities are detected, the patients will have to undergo a mammogram. Often times lumps and bumps on the breast disappear following the onset of menstration. However, if the mass does not change, the next step involves biopsy of the breast. This necessry to distinquish breast cancer from fibrocystic breast disease. Easily detected cysts can usually be treated with a needle intended to remove fluid or air.

Treatment Options

Once a diagnosis of fibrocystic breast disease is confirmed, doctors may recommend dietary changes to decrease the liklihood of future cysts or lumps from developing. Dietary changes may consist of limiting fat and calorie intake, and avoiding caffeinated foods and drinks.

Furthermore, women living with fibrocystic breast disease must perform routine breast examinations and have regular mammograms. Suffering from fibrocystic breast disease does not necessarily increase the risk of breast cancer. However, it can make detecting early signs of cancer difficult.

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