In April of 2003, after finding 3 lumps on the outer part of my left breast, I had an ultrasound and mammogram done and was diagnosed with fibrocystic disease. Since that time, all three lumps have increased in size.
I had another ultrasound performed yesterday and although the lumps look the same (fluid filled) the radiologist is concerned because they have grown. I am scheduled for a biopsy next week. I am a bit confused as to what they are looking for. I was under the impression that fibrocysts or cysts themselves could not "turn" into cancer. Is it possible that cancer could be "hiding" inside each cyst? I'm also wondering if my case is unique, and if cysts can in fact increase in size over a period of time. Needless to say, I am very worried.
Any insight you can give would be greatly appreciated.
Dear Vienna: It is not uncommon for cysts to grow. Cysts are not malignant. In very rare situations there can be a malignancy within a cyst but this is very rare and likely not a cause for cystic growth. If these are cysts, they can be aspirated. If no fluid comes out, then the "lump" would need further evaluation. If it is a cyst the "lump" will collapse. Under usual circumstances, there is no reason to remove a cyst unless they are painful or are obscuring the ability to read a mammogram.
The simplest thing to do, assuming these lumps can be felt, is to insert a needle and drain them: it's an office procedure, takes a few seconds, avoids a biopsy. If they are in fact cysts, they ought to go away with draining that way. In fact, when lumps are feelable, I'd always start with needling them; if they are cysts, they go away, and no further testing needs doing. You are correct that cysts don't turn into cancer. Usually when a biopsy is recommended it's to be sure that there's not something other than cysts going on. So it may be that some of the things seen don't have clear-cut characteristics of cysts. However, if the concern is just that they've enlarged, that's not unusual for cysts; the question is just how certain they are that these are indeed cysts. When there are questions, it's best to find out one way or another.
I don't think I've ever received such prompt replies on any other message board, ever. I really do appreciate both responses.
I got the feeling that the radiologist was erring on the side of caution by scheduling the biopsy. I have yet to discuss the report formally with my doctor but hope to do so within the next couple of days.
Again, I am grateful to everyone for their time and input. The information provided was extremely informative and has helped to ease my fears.
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