Breast Cyst vs. Breast Cancer: What Are the Differences

Breast cysts can occur when glands in the breast become blocked, or they can grow due to natural, monthly hormone changes, especially before a period. They may also be caused by caffeine, but not enough research is available to confirm this. Cysts in the breast are also more common in women close to menopause, the time when periods have stopped for 12 months in a row, signaling the end of menstrual cycles.

Getting an accurate diagnosis for a breast lump is extremely important as treatment options vary considerably. For example, breast cysts can be left untreated since they usually are not harmful and go away on their own. Breast cancer, however, can be life-threatening and is usually treated quickly to prevent it from spreading and worsening.

If you’re not aware of your breast health, important changes in your breasts can be easy to miss. Download our free eBook, Breast Problems That Aren’t Breast Cancer, to learn about the most common non-cancerous breast problems, like cysts, you should know about.

a A simple breast cyst [75]. b Breast ultrasound, showing a cancer ...

Breast Cysts: Everything You Need To Know | Women’s Health

A solid mass doesn’t always mean it is cancer. The shape of the mass will help tell the radiologist what it likely is. A mass that is hard to the touch and has jagged edges could be cancer. Ultrasound imaging and additional imaging using X-Ray, called spot imaging, can help the radiologist differentiate shapes of masses.

One of the most noticeable symptoms of both breast cancer and a breast cyst is a lump in the breast. However, there are also differences. Breast cancer is more likely to be a very hard lump, and the edges tend to be irregular. A breast cyst, on the other hand, tends to have smooth edges and may feel more like a grape. Cysts can sometimes be hard, too, so a harder lump does not always mean it’s cancerous.

Some risk factors of breast cancer and breast cysts may be similar, such as women being at an increased risk of both. However, other risk factors and causes vary.

Breast Cyst vs. Breast Cancer: What Are the Differences

Breast Changes and Conditions

Request blocked. We can’t connect to the server for this app or website at this time. There might be too much traffic or a configuration error. Try again later, or contact the app or website owner.
If you provide content to customers through CloudFront, you can find steps to troubleshoot and help prevent this error by reviewing the CloudFront documentation.

May be interested:

How to Prevent Breast Cancer

While breast cysts and breast cancer both appear as lumps in the breast, they are two very different conditions. Generally, breast cancer is hard with rough edges, while breast cysts tend to be softer, with smooth edges. See your healthcare provider if you find any breast lumps to determine what it is. While lumps are usually noncancerous, they can be life-threatening, and early diagnosis helps with treatment and outcomes.

By Ashley Olivine, Ph.D., MPH
Dr. Ashley Olivine is a health psychologist and public health professional with over a decade of experience serving clients in the clinical setting and private practice. She has also researched a wide variety psychology and public health topics such as the management of health risk factors, chronic illness, maternal and child wellbeing, and child development.

JohnnyGreig / Getty Images

What is breast cyst aspiration?

Breast Masses: Cancerous Tumor or Benign Lump?

Request blocked. We can’t connect to the server for this app or website at this time. There might be too much traffic or a configuration error. Try again later, or contact the app or website owner.
If you provide content to customers through CloudFront, you can find steps to troubleshoot and help prevent this error by reviewing the CloudFront documentation.

May be interested:

Symptoms

Breast cancer and breast cysts are diagnosed with a physical exam and testing; they cannot be diagnosed by touch alone. Because breast cancer and cysts can look similar, tests are designed to differentiate between the two.

Nearly all “simple cysts” are just that – simple. They are almost never associated with a higher risk of cancer. The only possible exception in which a cyst might indicate a slightly elevated risk for cancer is when other risk factors for cancer, such as a strong family history, are already present, or when further examination of imaging studies reveals some debris inside or along the edge or margin of it.

Both breast cysts and cancer can be diagnosed with physical exams and testing, such as a mammogram, ultrasound, and aspiration or biopsy. Breast cysts are usually watched but not treated, while breast cancer usually is treated with surgery, radiation, or other options depending on its progression. These conditions can sometimes be prevented with lifestyle choices such as eating a healthy diet, exercising, and getting regular breast screenings.

Breast Cyst

Mammogram images: Normal, abnormal, and breast cancer

About 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lifetimes, so it is understandable why finding a lump is frightening. While breast lumps are common in women (and possible but less-so in men), most are not cancerous or life-threatening. Breast cysts, or sacs of fluid in the breast tissue, are one of the most common noncancerous breast lumps.

May be interested:

Breast Cyst Symptoms

Diagnostic testing may include:

Fibrocystic breast tissue is a very common condition and means that you have denser breast tissue and may notice lumps and bumps that are common to the feel of your breasts. It is important for women with fibrocystic breast tissue to be diligent about performing breast self-exams so they are familiar with what is normal for their breasts and so they can report any changes.

Video for “What does a breast cancer cyst look like?”

More pictures for “What does a breast cancer cyst look like?”

What Does An Image Of Breast Cancer Look Like / Breast Cancer

Biopsy all breast cysts?

Textural Feature Analysis for Ultrasound Breast Tumor Images | Semantic ...

Ultrasound of breast cyst

Complicated Breast Cysts on Sonography

Mammogram images: Normal, abnormal, and breast cancer

Breast Ultrasound Radiology Key

Breast Cancer

What Does Breast Cancer Look Like On An Ultrasound

36 best

Breast Ultrasound Cancer vs Benign Breast

Expert Opinion: Imaging and Lobular Breast Cancer

The breast | Basicmedical Key

What Does Breast Cancer Look Like Pictures / Breast Cancer Symptoms And ...

What Does Breast Cancer Look Like On The Skin / Breast Cancer Awareness ...

11 Breast Imaging | Radiology Key

New Artificial Intelligence Tool Improves Breast Cancer Detection on ...

Mammogram Images Normal Abnormal And Breast Cancer

Causes of Cyst in the Mammary Gland. World Breast Cancer Day. Tumor ...

Breast Cancer, Ct Scan Photograph by Du Cane Medical Imaging Ltd

Breast Cancer | CancerQuest

Breast Cysts Image

Breast Cancer 101: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Beneath The Surface A Guide To Breast Imaging Breast360 Org

New Screening Tests for Hard-to-Spot Breast Cancers

What Does Inflammatory Breast Cancer Look Like On A Mammogram ...

Breast Cancer Cells Starve For Cystine | Duke Today

Simple breast cyst | Image | Radiopaedia.org
Breast Masses Cancerous Tumor Or Benign Lump

Figure 3 from Epidermoid cyst of the breast: Mammography, ultrasound ...

Dense Breast Tissue and How it Affects You

Breast Cyst

How dense are you? | Primary Care Nursing Review

Breast Cysts: Everything You Need To Know | Women's Health


Rate article