Cysts are one of the findings that can be seen on your mammogram.
Cysts are benign fluid-filled masses that can appear in your breast
tissue. They can appear alone or in groups, and are very commonly
detected by mammography.
During your regular menstrual cycle, your breast produces and
absorbs fluid in response to hormonal changes. Excess estrogen
may stimulate the breast to make more fluid than is adsorbed and
subsequently this fluid may collect in small sacs or cysts. Many
of us have small cysts without realizing it, or without being bothered
by any pain or bumpiness. A cyst usually doesn’t require
any treatment, but can be drained if it is uncomfortable.
Cysts are most common in women who are 35 to 50 years old and
are perimenopausal. If you’re taking hormone replacement
therapy (HRT) you may also experience breast cysts.
Cysts are not usually associated with breast cancer. If your radiologist
finds a dense mass on your mammogram, and thinks it may be a cyst,
the next step is to perform an ultrasound on it.
When a cyst is discovered by ultrasound, aspiration
is not generally recommended unless the cyst has some unusual
features on the ultrasound image, or the cyst is associated with
discomfort (physical or emotional) which can be relieved by aspiration.
If the cyst appears to contain material other than fluid on the
ultrasound image an aspiration procedure may be recommended.
This is best performed using ultrasound guidance to ensure complete
drainage of the cyst. Ultrasound-Guided
Breast Cyst Aspiration
Studies of breast cyst fluid from thousands of
women have established that laboratory analysis of fluid is of
value only if the appearance of the fluid suggests previous bleeding.
Normal benign cyst fluid is usually yellow, green or gray and
can be safely discarded.
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