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      What Is Breast Cyst: Types, Causes, Symptoms & Treatment 

      Breast Lump

      What Is Breast Cyst: Types, Causes, Symptoms & Treatment 

      Updated on 3 November 2023

      Patients diagnosed with a breast cyst may often wonder what cysts in the breast means and their treatment options. This blog post will discuss the different types of breast cysts, their causes, and the various treatment options available.

      Read ahead to learn more!

      What are Breast Cysts?

      Breast cysts are fluid-filled sacs in the breast tissue. They can occur in any breast and are caused by various factors, including hormonal changes during pregnancy or menopause, infection, inflammation, breast injury, or trauma. The size of a breast cyst is usually determined by how much fluid it contains.

      Breast cysts are found in both women and men. However, they are more common in women because they tend to occur around puberty and pregnancy. Furthermore, they are more common in women with a history of pregnancy or breastfeeding, although they can occur at any age, race, or ethnicity.

      Cysts in breasts may come in many different sizes and shapes, with some being so small that they can only be felt on the surface of the breast tissue. Cysts can form during pregnancy or after menopause when there is a decrease in estrogen levels. They also may be related to an overgrowth (hypertrophy) of glandular tissue within the breast.

      Types of Breast Cysts

      Breast cysts are fluid-filled sacs that develop in the breasts. They can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancer). However, the possibility of a breast cyst being cancerous is often very rare. There are many different types of breast cysts, but there are three main classes of breast cysts:

      1. Simple Cysts

      As the name suggests, such cysts are filled with fluid and are always benign.

      1. Complicated Breast Cyst

      This cyst has some solid mass floating in the cyst fluid. Hence, it needs to be checked for any cancerous cell growth through a needle biopsy.

      1. Complex Breast Cysts

      Fibroadenomas generally larger than 3mm are knowns as complex breast cysts. They can be cancerous and hence need to be checked with a needle biopsy.

      Causes of Breast Cysts

      There are many potential breast cysts causes, and often the exact cause is unknown. Breast cysts may be caused by hormonal changes, trauma, or other underlying health conditions.

      Hormonal changes are one of the most common causes of breast cysts. Cysts may form during adolescence, pregnancy, menopause, or taking hormonal medications such as birth control pills.

      Trauma to the breast can also lead to the formation of cysts. It may include repetitive injury from activities such as running or from a single traumatic event.

      Several underlying health conditions can cause cysts under the breasts. These include polycystic ovary syndrome, fibrocystic breast changes, and certain types of cancer.

      Symptoms of Breast Cysts

      Breast cysts usually don't cause any symptoms, although they may feel like a lump in the breast. But if a breast cyst ruptures, causing infection or bleeding, it could be severe and require immediate treatment by a doctor.

      Other symptoms of breast cysts can include a lump in the breast, painful breast cysts or tenderness in the breast, and changes in the breast tissue. Cysts are usually benign, which means they are not cancerous. However, in some cases, a cyst may be cancerous. If a person has any of these breast cyst symptoms, it is essential to see a doctor so that they can rule out the possibility of cancer.

      Treatment options for Breast Cysts

      There are a few different treatment options for breast cysts, depending on the severity of the cyst. If the cyst in the breast is small and doesn't cause any pain, the patient's doctor may recommend leaving it alone. In some cases, the cyst may go away on its own.

      If the cyst is larger or causes pain, the doctor may recommend aspirating the cyst. It involves inserting a needle into the breast cyst and drawing out the fluid. It can usually be done in the doctor's office. If the cyst is large and doesn't respond to aspiration, the patient may need surgery to remove it. It is usually a last resort option.


      Breast cysts are fluid-filled sacs that form on the breast. Cysts can be painful and unsightly, but they are generally non-cancerous. Breast cysts are usually small and will not cause any problems, but they can become large enough to affect a person's daily life if left untreated. However, there are cases where breast cysts are found to be cancerous; hence people need to check their cysts with their healthcare provider. A simple mammogram or a needle biopsy can help determine if the cyst is benign or malignant. And finally, if someone has concerns about breast cysts, talk to a doctor.


      Merih Güray Durak , Ilgın Karaman, Tülay Canda, Pınar Balci, Omer Harmancioğlu. Cystic fibroadenoma of the breast: a case report.

      Cleveland Clinic medical professional. 24 august, 2020. Breast Cysts.

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      Written by

      Madhavi Gupta

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