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Fibrocystic Changes of the Breast


The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Oct 2019| Content last modified Oct 2019
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What are fibrocystic changes?

Fibrocystic changes are a set of breast symptoms that include pain, cysts, and general lumpiness in your breasts. The word fibrocystic comes from the terms fibrous tissue and cyst. Fibrous tissue is tough, strong tissue that feels like it's made of a lot of fibers. A cyst is a small, fluid-filled sac that grows inside your body. Fibrocystic changes in the breast is not a single disease.

  • Fibrocystic changes don’t lead to breast cancer

  • Symptoms can be worse in the days before your period

  • Fibrocystic changes usually go away after menopause (when you stop having periods)

  • Doctors may do tests to make sure your fibrocystic changes aren’t cancer

You’re more likely to have fibrocystic changes if you:

  • Started menstruation (getting periods) at an early age

  • Had your first baby at age 30 or older

  • Never had a baby

What are the symptoms of fibrocystic change?

  • Lumps in your breast

  • Sometimes discomfort, including heaviness, tenderness, or burning pain

How do doctors treat fibrocystic changes?

Doctors may:

  • Tell you to wear a soft, supportive bra, such as a sports bra

  • Tell you to take pain medicine, such as acetaminophen

  • Drain the fluid from a cyst

  • Give you medicine, such as danazol (a type of male hormone) or tamoxifen (medicine that blocks estrogen), if your symptoms are severe

If you only have one lump or if it feels different from other lumps, doctor may:

  • Take a sample of tissue from your breast lump and look at it under a microscope (biopsy) to make sure it isn’t cancer

  • Do surgery to remove it

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