What are breast cysts?
Breast cysts are round or oval structures filled with fluid and they are typically benign cause of breast lumps. There are various types, including simple and complex. A simple cyst is just filled with fluid and is always benign, while a complex cyst has fluid and solid elements so if blood or any unusual cells are present in the fluid, further testing may be needed to rule out breast cancer.

Breast cysts usually affect women before menopause aged between 35 and 50. However they can also affect women of any age even young girls. Women who are past menopause and taking hormone therapy are also at risk.

What are the symptoms of breast cyst?
Breast cysts can be found in one breast of or can affect both breasts. The symptoms are;

  • Breast pain and tenderness
  • Nipple discharge that is clear, yellow or dark brown
  • Smooth and easily movable oval or round lump on the breast
  • Increased breast size and tenderness around the breast

What are the causes of the breast cyst?
Each breast is made up of lobes of glandular tissues arranged like daisy petals. The lobes are further divided into smaller lobules that produce milk. Breast cysts develop when fluid accumulates inside the breast glands. Breast cysts can be classified by their size. Micro-cysts and Macro-cysts.

  • Micro-cysts are too small to feel but can be seen on mammography or ultrasound.
  • Macro-cysts are large and can be felt and can grow to about 1 to 2 inches

The exact cause of breast cysts is not known but medical professionals believe they are triggered by menstrual hormonal changes. During the menstrual cycle oestrogen causes fluid to be produced. Excess oestrogen in your body can stimulate the breast tissues, may cause breast cysts.

Is there any chance they can develop into breast cancer?
Even though it’s a benign condition, you may still worry about breast cancer. Having breast cysts doesn’t increase your risk of breast cancer but it’s still important to be aware and go back to your GP if you notice any changes in your breasts.