Fibrocystic Breast Condition (cont.)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Fibrocystic breast condition facts
- What are fibrocystic breasts?
- Is there a difference between fibrocystic breast condition and fibrocystic breast disease?
- What causes fibrocystic breasts?
- What are the symptoms of fibrocystic breast condition?
- Which women are more likely to develop fibrocystic breast condition?
- Can fibrocystic breast condition affect just one breast?
- Why is it important to diagnosis fibrocystic breasts?
- How is fibrocystic breast condition diagnosed?
- Is there more than one type of fibrocystic breast condition?
- Why can fibrocystic breast condition be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer?
- Why don't all women with fibrocystic breast condition have breast biopsies?
- What is the recommended follow-up for women with fibrocystic breast condition?
- How is the risk of breast cancer in fibrocystic breast condition patients calculated?
- What are the treatments for fibrocystic breast condition?
- Are there any dietary or life style factors associated with fibrocystic breast condition?
- Find a local Obstetrician-Gynecologist in your town
How is fibrocystic breast condition diagnosed?
A common indicator of fibrocystic breast condition is breast pain or discomfort, but women with fibrocystic breasts may also not have any symptoms. If discomfort is present, the discomfort may include a dull, heavy pain in the breasts, breast tenderness, nipple itching, and/or a feeling of fullness in the breasts. These symptoms may be persistent or intermittent (coming and going), frequently appearing at the onset of each menstrual period and going away immediately afterwards.
The primary method of diagnosing fibrocystic breast condition is physically touching and feeling (palpation) the lumpy areas in the breast(s). These lumps may be detected by a woman on self-examination or by her physician. This lumpiness is most commonly found in the upper outer quadrant of the breast. (The breast is conventionally divided into quadrants or quarters. The upper outer quadrant is the one closest to the armpit.) The lumps in fibrocystic breast condition are typically mobile (they are not anchored to overlying or underlying tissue). They usually feel rounded, have smooth borders, and may feel rubbery or somewhat changeable in shape. Sometimes, the fibrocystic areas may feel irregular, ridge-like, or like tiny beads. These characteristics all vary from one woman to another.
Breasts that are extremely fibrocystic can be very difficult to examine by palpation (touching and feeling). Even mammograms of such extremely fibrocystic breasts may be difficult to interpret. In these cases, specialized breast ultrasound exams and other tests can be very helpful for cancer screening. It may sometimes be necessary to obtain a sample (biopsy) of breast tissue with a needle or by surgery in order to make an accurate diagnosis and differentiate between fibrocystic breast condition and breast cancer.
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