Breast Cysts: Types, symptoms, causes, and treatment

Breast cysts are fluid-filled sacs that develop within the breast tissue and are most common in women between their 40s and 50s. They’re typically benign (non-cancerous) and often feel like a round, movable lump with a rubbery consistency. The causes of breast cysts are not entirely understood, but they’re linked to hormonal fluctuations. Symptoms can range from tenderness to noticeable size changes in the breast. Treatment is often not necessary unless a cyst is large, painful, or uncomfortable. In this article, we delve deeper into the types of breast cysts, their causes, symptoms, and available treatment options.

What are Breast cysts?

Breast cysts are fluid-filled sacs that develop within the glandular tissue of the breast. They can vary in size and may feel like a lump or a mass when touched. Breast cysts are one of the most common types of benign breast lumps, and they typically affect women between their 40s and 50s.

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There are two main types of breast cysts: simple and complex. Simple cysts are the most common type, and they usually have a fluid-filled sac surrounded by a thin layer of tissue. These types of cysts do not increase the risk of breast cancer and often disappear on their own.

Complex cysts, on the other hand, may have thicker walls and contain solid components in addition to fluid. These types of cysts can sometimes associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, so further evaluation may be necessary.

Other less common types of breast cysts include:

  • Papillary Cysts: These are usually small and filled with watery or sticky fluid, often appearing as a lump near the surface of the breast.
  • Intracystic Papillomas: These are usually small growths that form within the milk ducts and can cause cysts to develop.
  • Oil Cysts: These cysts contain a thick, yellow fluid and may caused by an injury or trauma to the breast.


Most breast cysts do not cause any symptoms and are often found during a routine breast exam or imaging test. However, some women may experience the following symptoms:

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  • A round, movable lump in the breast that feels firm or rubbery
  • Tenderness or pain in the breast
  • Increase in size of the cyst during menstruation
  • Change in shape or size of the breast

If a cyst becomes infected, it may cause redness, swelling, and pain.


  • Age: As mentioned earlier, breast cysts are most common in women between their 40s and 50s.
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): Women who take HRT may be more likely to develop breast cysts due to the hormonal changes that occur.
  • Family history: Having a family history of breast cancer or breast cysts may increase the risk of developing them.
  • Previous breast injuries: Trauma or injury to the breast can cause oil cysts to form.

Diagnose and Treatment

If you discover a breast cyst, it’s essential to consult your doctor for further evaluation. Your doctor may perform a physical exam and order additional imaging tests, such as an ultrasound or mammogram, to determine the type of cyst and rule out any other underlying conditions.

In most cases, treatment for breast cysts is not necessary unless they are causing discomfort or have suspicious features. Some treatment options may include:

  • Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA): This a procedure where a thin needle used to drain the fluid from the cyst, relieving any discomfort.
  • Stereotactic core biopsy: If there are concerns about the cyst being cancerous, your doctor may perform a biopsy to remove a small piece of tissue for further examination.
  • Hormone therapy: If hormonal fluctuations believed to be the cause of cysts, your doctor may suggest hormone therapy to regulate these changes.

In rare cases where a cyst is large and causing significant discomfort or if there is a high risk of cancer, surgery may be recommended to remove the cyst and confirm its nature through pathology testing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can men develop breast cysts?

Breast cysts are more common in women, but men can also develop them.

Can breast cysts develop into cancer?

Most breast cysts are non-cancerous fluid-filled sacs that commonly occur in women. However, complex or infected cysts can pose a higher risk of being cancerous and therefore may require further evaluation and monitoring by healthcare professionals. Individuals need to consult with their healthcare provider for accurate diagnosis and appropriate management of breast cysts.

Is there a way to prevent breast cysts?

As the exact cause of breast cysts is unknown, there is no specific way to prevent them. However, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and regular breast exams can help detect any changes in the breast tissue early on.


Breast cysts are a common occurrence in women, and most are benign and require no treatment. However, it’s essential to consult a doctor for further evaluation if you discover a breast cyst or experience any symptoms. With early detection and appropriate treatment, most breast cysts can managed effectively, providing peace of mind and maintaining good breast health. So, regular self-exams and screenings are essential in detecting any changes in the breasts and ensuring prompt medical attention if necessary. Remember, early detection is key to successful treatment. Stay informed and stay healthy!

So, it’s important to continue practicing good breast health habits and consulting with a healthcare professional for any concerns or changes in the breasts. By staying informed and proactive, we can ensure our breast health remains a top priority. It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to our health, so don’t hesitate to seek medical advice if needed.

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This site provides educational information only. It is important not to depend on any content here in place of professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Similarly, it should not replace professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any health concerns or questions, always seek guidance from a physician or another healthcare professional.