Once it has been determined that the lump is not a cancer, it can be left alone. If the lump's identity is still in doubt, it should be biopsied.
After numbing the area with a local anesthetic (eg, Novocain), a small needle on a syringe is inserted into the lump to draw fluid out. If the lump disappears, cancer is highly unlikely. If the lump remains, or if the fluid withdrawn is bloody, it will need to be biopsied to see if a cancer is present.
There are two types of biopsies:
- A fine needle biopsy is nearly identical to an aspiration. The only difference is that a tiny piece of tissue is also drawn out of the lump and sent to the laboratory to be identified under a microscope.
- An excisional biopsy removes the entire lump through a surgical incision. This can be done with local anesthesia (eg, Novocain) if the lump is small and superficial. Otherwise you may have to undergo a somewhat more extensive operation, but it is still considered minor surgery.
Once cancer has been satisfactorily ruled out, fibrocystic disease may be safely treated with observation and conservative measures, including:
- Pain relievers
- Local heat application
- Highly supportive bra
For particularly painful fibrocystic disease, there are a few hormonal drugs (eg, danazol or tamoxifen ) that may reduce the symptoms, but they have significant side effects and should be used in only severe cases and for as short a time as possible.
Some women with fibrocystic diseases who regularly consume caffeine (coffee, tea, cola, or chocolate) may find relief by eliminating it from their diet. Also, vitamin E (400 IU daily) may help some women.