Fibrocystic Breast Condition - Diagnosis

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How is fibrocystic breast condition diagnosed?

A common indicator of fibrocystic breast condition is breast pain or discomfort, but women with fibrocystic breasts may also not have any symptoms. If discomfort is present, the discomfort may include a dull, heavy pain in the breasts, breast tenderness, nipple itching, and/or a feeling of fullness in the breasts. These symptoms may be persistent or intermittent (coming and going), especially appearing at the onset of each menstrual period and going away immediately afterwards.

The primary method of diagnosing fibrocystic breast condition is physically touching and feeling (palpation) the lumpy areas in the breast(s). These lumps may be detected by a woman on self-examination or by her physician. This lumpiness is most commonly found in the upper outer quadrant of the breast. (The breast is conventionally divided into quadrants or quarters. The upper outer quadrant is the one closest to the armpit.) The lumps in fibrocystic breast condition are typically mobile (they are not anchored to overlying or underlying tissue). They usually feel rounded, have smooth borders, and may feel rubbery or somewhat changeable in shape. Sometimes, the fibrocystic areas may feel irregular, ridge-like, or like tiny beads. These characteristics all vary from one woman to another.

Breasts that are extremely fibrocystic can be very difficult to examine by palpation (touching and feeling). Even mammograms of such extremely fibrocystic breasts may be difficult to interpret. In these cases, specialized breast ultrasound exams and other tests can be very helpful for cancer screening. It may sometimes be necessary to obtain a sample (biopsy) of breast tissue with a needle or by surgery in order to make an accurate diagnosis and differentiate between fibrocystic breast condition and breast cancer.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: DMMC, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 13

My daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 14. Since than she has been in and out of hospitals with low or high blood sugar. She is 30 now and while she was pregnant with her first child she developed gastroparesis where she can't tolerate liquids or food and vomits everything up. After the baby was born after 30 weeks healthy and normal, it seemed to disappear. Now the baby is 3 and it has started all over again. She's now in the hospital after numerous times with this and her potassium was so low they had to give her 6 IV bags of it and it is still low. They told her to try that V8 juice to see if it does anything once she's out. This is so scary because it seems there is no cure for this gastroparesis and she can't live a normal life and do things to enjoy her baby with. It is horrible seeing your child go through these things and there's nothing you can do about it.

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Comment from: paulette, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 20

I had lumps removed from my right breast at 28 years old and taken to a lab for test and it was confirmed to be fibrocystic condition, and now at 36 years old I have lumps on the left breast. My doctor sent me for an ultrasound and I was told again that it is fibrocystic condition. Naturally I'm a little worried because I don't want to have another surgery. I wonder why it came back and if there is something I'm not doing right.

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