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Breast Cysts Symptoms & Diagnosis


  • Multiple lumps (cysts) in both breasts that cycle with menstrual periods
  • Cysts may produce no symptoms or cause pain (mastalgia) and tenderness
  • Although at any given time a fibrocystic lump may be difficult to tell apart from a cancerous mass, its rapid disappearance and reappearance helps distinguish this condition from breast cancer


Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. There are generally only two concerns that arise from these symptoms:

  • Are you uncomfortable?
  • Do you have breast cancer?

Tests may include the following:

  • Mammogram (x-ray of the breasts)
  • Needle aspiration of a lump
  • Excisional biopsy of a suspicious area

It is important to note that mammograms alone cannot reliably distinguish between a benign cyst and a cancer. A lump that does not show significant monthly changes must be evaluated by other means. One of these means is aspiration (see below).

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2023 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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