Fibrocystic Changes of the Breast
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- Fibrocystic changes (FCC) of the breast is a generalized term for a heterogeneous group of changes affecting the stromal and glandular tissues of the breast.
- It is the most common of all benign breast conditions.
- Commonly presents as mastalgia, engorgement, increased breast nodularity, and/or cysts:
- Mastalgia (breast pain) is usually in upper outer quadrants of breast, bilateral, and may radiate to shoulders or upper arms.
- Localized pain may occur with a rapidly enlarging cyst.
- Nodules are usually small (2–10 mm), diffuse, and bilateral, with a rubbery consistency.
- Cysts are more common in women in their 40s.
- Larger cysts may have consistency of a water-filled balloon.
- Symptoms are most prominent in premenstrual (luteal) phase.
- System(s) affected: Endocrine/Metabolic; Reproductive
- Synonym(s): Fibrocystic breast disease; Mammary dysplasia; Chronic cystic mastitis
Most common in women of reproductive years; occasionally seen after menopause with hormone replacement
Unknown but very frequent
50–60% of women without breast disease are found to have this pattern of fibrous change and cyst formation (1).
- The effect of consumption of methylxanthine-containing substances (e.g., coffee, tea, cola, and chocolate) has not been found to be a contributing factor (2)[A].
- Diet high in fruits and vegetables and high parity independently decrease risk of FCC.
- Diet high in saturated fats may increase risk of FCC.
May be the result of an exaggerated response of breast tissue to cycling hormones or a subtle imbalance in the ratio of estrogen to progesterone.
Commonly Associated Conditions
Fibrocystic change found clinically confers no increased risk of breast cancer (1).