Breast cysts are a common occurrence in women of any age, but are typically found in women between the ages of 35 – 50. Breast cysts are related to hormone levels, therefore, unless a woman is taking hormone therapy, the cysts usually disappear after menopause. Breast cysts are fluid-filled sacs that are typically benign. They often have a very distinct texture; described as round or oval, with distinct edges, and feel like a grape. Many times breast cysts do not require treatment, but for some women they become painful or uncomfortable. Draining the cyst through cyst aspiration is a procedure that can ease the symptoms.
For many women, breast cysts will change during their menstrual cycles. The cysts will often increase in size and become more tender just before a period, and will decrease in size and tenderness after a period. Cysts at usually found in one breast, but have been reported to show up in both breasts at the same time. While cysts are not an indicator of an increased risk for breast cancer, they can make detection of new breast lumps harder to decipher. It is important for all women to become familiar with how their breasts normally feel so that they will know if something changes.
The cause of breast cysts is not known, but many studies relate excess levels of estrogen in the body to stimulation of breast tissue that may promote cyst development. During a cyst aspiration, a fine needle will be inserted into the breast lump and will withdraw fluid. Often an ultrasound will be used to guide the needle to the accurate placement. If the fluid comes out and the cyst goes away, a doctor can make a breast cyst diagnosis immediately.
For women with uncomfortable or painful cysts in their breasts, cyst aspirations can help to relieve their discomfort right away. Cyst aspirations do not prevent cysts from returning, but they do alleviate the discomfort associated with them.
Posted on behalf of Diagnostic Radiology