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Saturday, September 03, 2011 nonnie, Community Member, asks

Q: Hi'i need answers i v been getting these cyst under my breast for several years now.and there very painful and i ve always had to go and getthem lanced but i want to no what cause them.

i ve once had one the size of an egg that they thought it was cancer and had to do emergency surgery.but it turned out not o be cancer.but i m concerned because i ve lost my mom 6 months ago to cancer and it does run in my family.
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Answers (2)
PJ Hamel, Health Guide
9/ 3/11 9:20pm

Hi - Breast cysts have nothing to do with cancer, and don't increase your risk for breast cancer, so please don't connect the two. Also, unless your mom or another close relative had breast cancer, then your risk of breast cancer is no greater than normal; other types of cancer don't increase your risk of breast cancer.


Cysts grow when the connective tissue in your breast grows too quickly and/or too much, and squeezes the milk ducts in your breast; they react by filling with fluid, becoming what's known as cysts. The cause of cysts haven't been determined, though it's theorized they may have something to do with excess estrogen. Fibrocystic change, the aforementioned ovrgrowth of breast tissue, is thought by some to be influenced by caffeine; so if you drink coffee and/or diet soda with caffeine, you might try cutting back. Beyond that - you might ask your doctor if there's any new data out there that might help you deal with this sometimes painful condition. And, there's light at the end of the tunnel; the frequency of cysts decreases with age. Best of luck to you - PJH

nonnie, Community Member
9/ 4/11 12:33am

thanks.your information was very helpful.

Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
9/ 4/11 10:37am

Nonnie, breast cysts are very frustrating.  They are caused by hormonal changes.  Why some women are more prone to them, no one knows.  I had cysts similar to yours for years.  Sometimes they would go away on their own, and sometimes I had to see a surgeon to have them drained if they got too large and painful.  Cysts are not dangerous, and most women find they go away when they enter menopause.  

The most dangerous thing about being prone to cysts is that if you do ever develop a cancerous lump, you might ignore it assuming it's just another cyst.  So keep on seeing your doctor for each new cyst.  Ultrasounds are a good test to make sure a lump is a cyst.  If the ultrasound shows a lump is filled with fluid, then it's a cyst, not cancer.

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By nonnie, Community Member— Last Modified: 09/04/11, First Published: 09/03/11