Having breast cysts doesn't increase your risk of breast cancer. But, having multiple cysts may make it difficult to notice another breast lump or other changes in the breast. Those with breast cysts will thus have to be breast aware and see their doctor for a check-up and screening regularly.

A breast cyst is one of the most common causes of a breast lump. About 25% of all breast masses turn out to be non-cancerous cysts. A breast cyst is a benign round or oval lump containing fluid that develops naturally in the breast.

Signs and symptoms of a breast cyst:

Cysts can be small or large enough to feel through the skin. It’s common to have more than one cyst. Breast cysts may involve the following symptoms which may worsen at different stages of your menstrual cycle:

  • A lump in the breast that is fairly movable under the skin
  • Pain or tenderness in the breast
  • Lumpiness in the breast (if you have multiple cysts)
  • Clear, yellow or brown nipple discharge
Breast cysts develop as a woman ages, as hormone levels change. Breast cysts are common for women in their 40s, but may affect women of any age.
If you notice a breast lump, be sure to see Dr van Schalkwyk so that she can assess it and screen for breast cancer. An ultrasound will be used to see whether the lump is solid or fluid-filled, such as a benign cyst. Breast cysts don't require treatment unless a cyst is large and painful or uncomfortable. In these cases, Dr van Schalkwyk may suggest removing the fluid from the cyst through aspiration.

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