Fibrocystic Breast Condition

Fibrocystic Breast Condition

What Is Fibrocystic Breast Condition?

Fibrocystic breast condition is a form of benign (not cancerous) breast changes commonly seen in women prior to menopause. The symptoms of fibrocystic breast condition typically are tenderness, pain, lumpiness or swelling and are most noticeable just before menstruation. Although there may be pain throughout one or both breasts, the pain is frequently felt in the upper outer region of the breast, sometimes in one breast rather than both.

Can Benign Lumps Turn Into Cancerous Ones?

Benign lumps do not turn into cancer, nor do most fibrocystic breast changes increase your risk for  developing breast cancer. However, cancerous lumps can develop near benign lumps, which may hide their presence. For this reason, regular checkups by a health-care professional, monthly breast self-exams and regular mammograms as recommended by American Cancer Society guidelines are the best steps in the
detection of breast cancer.

Recommended Treatment

Although there is no treatment needed for normal monthly breast changes, the following methods can help in treating the uncomfortable symptoms:

  • Caffeine-free diet – The elimination of caffeine from the diet can be very effectivein reducing pain and tenderness. Included on the back side is a table of commonproducts and their caffeine levels. Please be aware that many non-prescription medications also contain caffeine. Be sure to check package labels for caffeine content.
  • High-fiber, low-fat diet – In addition to a caffeine-free diet, we encourage you to follow a high-fiber, low-fat diet. Scientific findings indicate that such a diet not only helps relieve symptoms of fibrocystic breast condition, but may also decrease your risk for developing breast cancer.
  • A diet lower in salt – Reducing the amount of salt in your diet may also reduce swelling and tenderness.

It may take several months before you notice any improvement from dietary changes. However, if symptoms do not lessen, we recommend you also try the following:

  • Vitamin E – This vitamin may also help relieve your symptoms. We recommend a daily dose of 400 units. If there is no improvement after one month, double the dose. If there is still no positive response, stop using it.
  • Other helpful hints – Many women have found that fibrocystic pain can also be lessened by using an analgesic medication such as Advil. One or two tablets twice a day may be helpful. Also, if you exercise regularly, remember to wear a good support bra.

Contact Information

Contact Information

High Risk Breast Health Services

Martha Clay, R.N., BSN, MSN, FNP

1221 Madison Street Arnold Pavilion, Suite 400
Seattle, WA 98122
Tell:  206-320-4880
Fax:  206-320-2303

1600 East Jefferson, Suite 305
Seattle, WA 98104
Tell:  206-215-6400
Fax: 206-215-6401

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