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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Comment from: INSPIRED DREAMS07, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: December 30

I was diagnosed at the age of 24 and it is very painful when it does flare up. I was told it was caused by caffeine intake so I have cut back. When I really restrict myself from it I notice I am not in as much pain (it is tolerable) but when I go crazy with my soda and Starbucks it is game over, it even hurts to get out of bed. It is a struggle and painful way but just try to cut caffeine intake and take Advil for pain. Supportive bra's also a big help, I like to use my sturdy sports bra, it helps.

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Comment from: c2000aj, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: November 07

I have never had a regular menstrual cycle. I was diagnosed with FBD (fibrocystic breast disease) in Dec 2009. My breast would fill so badly they would be glossy. You could not brush up against them or I would cry. I went to a specialist and was given tamoxifen due to the severity. It makes you sick. I could only take it for a few weeks and then I could not handle it. I take primrose and vitamin E but it does not help. Massaging them helps but my doctor asked me not to do that.

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