Not every lump that shows up in the breast is cancerous or even a cause for concern; but if, during your usual breast self-exams, you find a lump – which occurs with the majority of women at some point – chances are that it’s a cyst you’ve found and not a cancerous tumor. It’s okay to exhale.
When armed with information, you’ll feel so much better and less panicky should something out of the ordinary like this happen to you. Here’s a little info that can help ease your worries and some steps you can take should a cyst appear on your breast.
The Origin of Breast Cysts
Breast cysts can be the result of too much fat consumption, which causes estrogen levels to rise and cysts to appear. Hormonal imbalances, particularly between progesterone and estrogen, can also be the culprit. Particularly during ovulation and before the menstrual cycle begins, when hormones are kind of all over the place, there may be some fluid retention in the breasts that can cause breast cysts as well.
Tumor or Cyst?
Experts describe cysts as painful to the touch and feeling like grapes or peas underneath the skin. When the lump is tender, it’s usually not cancerous. Cancerous lumps, on the other hand, are firmer and not sensitive to the touch.
Surprisingly, women who get breast cysts on a regular basis have about a 1% chance of developing breast cancer, should no other risk factors be present – like family history of breast cancer, smoking, heavy menstrual periods, painful menstrual cramps, pre-menstrual syndrome, caffeine sensitivity, etc. Despite what the statistics say and whether or not you believe a lump in your breast is benign, you should see a doctor anyway to be sure.
First things first; consult your doctor for treatments of any cysts. Then in addition to doctor’s orders, you can do the following to provide yourself some pain relief from a tender breast cyst:
Steer clear of caffeine, including coffee, tea, sodas, carbonated drinks, chocolate and certain over-the-counter pain meds. Caffeine can make the pain worse or encourage the growth of more cysts.
Eat foods low in fat, high in fiber and free of dairy products in order to get your hormones under control. These are the types of foods we should all be eating anyway, like fruits, veggies, whole grain and legumes. Incorporating multivitamins and some nutrient supplements is also okay in moderation, particularly vitamins A and E, selenium, and flaxseed oil supplements.
Massage your breasts in a circular motion from time to time to ease the pain and eliminate fluid retention. Applying warm compresses may also provide some relief in between massages.