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Fibrocystic Breast Disease

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What is Fibrocystic Breast Disease?

Fibrocystic breast is the term used to denote the non-cancerous changes occurring in the breast tissues. Generally, women have some general areas of lumps in the breast regions near the armpit area. These lumps may at times be associated with pain and the condition is termed as fibrocystic breast disease. Other terms used in association with this condition are benign breast disease and mammary dysplasia.1,2

What are the  Signs and Symptoms of Fibrocystic Breast Disease?

Fibrocystic breast disease is usually noted in women between the age of 30 and 50 years. The lumpy regions in the breasts near the armpit region may become swollen and cause pain, a sense of heaviness and discomfort. The discomfort may improve after the menstrual period. The symptoms generally reduce after menopause.1,2

What are the Causes and Risk Factors of Fibrocystic Breast Disease?

Although the exact cause has not been determined, it has been thought that hormonal changes in the body during menstruation lead to changes in the breast tissues. Repeated stimulation of such hormones or alterations in their functioning may cause the disorder. Women who consume oral contraceptives tend to have lesser incidence of this disease. Family history of the condition and excessive fat intake though proposed as risk factors have not been substantiated with research.2

How is It Diagnosed?

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The doctors diagnose the condition based on the history of the signs and symptoms observed. They may perform examination of the breast and advise certain investigations such as mammography and biopsy of the lumps to rule out the presence of any other serious conditions.

What is the Treatment?

Generally these lumps need no specific treatment. If the lumps are of a larger size they may be completely removed or drained by inserting a needle. However, these may recur at times. Diet changes such decreased fat intake and stopping of caffeine intake have been helpful in certain individuals. Oral contraceptive pills may also be at times advised.

What are the Complications?

The presence of these lumps may make it difficult to identify early cancerous changes in the breast tissues. Women who suffer from fibrocystic breast disease are at slightly higher risk of developing breast cancer than other women.1


1.The Merck Manual of Medical of Medical Information. Fibrocystic Breast Disease. [homepage on the internet]. Whitehouse Station, NJ: Merck & Co., Inc.; [updated 2003 Feb; cited 2007 Dec 26]. Available from: http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec22/ch251/ch251d.html

2.MedlinePlus. Fibrocystic breast disease. [homepage on Internet]. Bethesda, MD: U.S. National Library of Medicine; [updated 2007 Nov 26; cited 2007 Dec 27]. Available from: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000912.htm

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Written by: healthplus24.com team

Date last updated: January 19, 2015

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