Breast and General Surgeon.....
are perhaps the commonest cause of a discrete breast lump. They
are distended and involuted fluid-filled breast lobules that occur
most frequently in perimenopausal women between the ages of 38-53
as a result of hormonal changes in the breast. Their incidence diminishes
with menopause except in women on hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Most cysts are small and multiple and only picked up on ultrasound.
These can be safely left alone and do not usually require any intervention.
Larger cysts can present as a visible or palpable smooth discrete
lump that is sometimes painful. They have characteristic features
on mammography and ultrasound and are treated by needle aspiration,
occasionally with ultrasound guidance.
cyst fluid varies in colour from pale yellow to brown or dark green
and unless blood-stained is usually discarded. If blood-stained
or if a residual lump persists after aspiration then further tests
would be carried out including fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC)
and/or core biopsy. Very rarely some cancers have a cystic component
but this is usually identified on ultrasound and biopsy. Breast
cysts are very common and do not confer a significantly increased
risk of breast cancer.
© 2008 Kent Breast Surgeon.