But how do you tell the difference between fibrocystic lumps and lumps to worry about/get checked out?
Jane, did you read our fibrocystic change FAQS? That really tells you a lot about fibrocystic change, including how to feel the difference between fibrocystic-type lumps, cysts, and possible tumors (benign or not). Please write again if you have questions after reading that... PJH
Jane, after you've read the info that PJ recommends, you'll have a better idea of the difference. However, one of the problems for women with lots of cysts is assuming that every new lump is a cyst. Some cysts change size over the course of a menstrual cycle, and you can ignore those. But you'll need to let a doctor check out any that don't change. An ultrasound can usually positively identify a cyst. It's only solid lumps that need biopsies, and even most of those turn out to be benign.
It's hard to tell if the lumps change size, because they're rope-like and not round. I do notice, however, that I get some pain in that area about a week before my period.