What's the Difference Between Breast Cancer and Cyst Symptoms?
- Breast cancer is cancer of the breast tissue, and is the second-most common type of cancer in women, and the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in women.
- Breast lumps are common, and are signs of changes in breast tissue. Most breast lumps are not cancerous.
- Symptoms of breast cancer and breast cysts that are similar include breast lumps (all breast lumps should be evaluated by a doctor), nipple discharge, and changes in the skin overlying the breast.
- Early breast cancer usually has no symptoms. As breast cancer progresses, symptoms that are different from breast cysts may include nipple inversion, weight loss, and shortness of breath.
- Symptoms of breast cysts that are different from breast cancer include breast pain, infections (symptoms of an infection include pain, redness, warmth of the breast, breast tenderness and swelling, body aches, fatigue, fever, and chills), and abscesses.
- Causes of breast cancer include risk factors such as female gender (men can get breast cancer but it occurs mostly in women), advanced age, Caucasian ethnicity, personal history of breast cancer, family history of breast cancer (genetics), hormones, being overweight or obese, increased alcohol consumption, and radiation treatment to the upper body.
- Causes of breast lumps include cysts, fibrocystic changes, or breast cancer.
- Treatment for breast cancer usually involves surgery (lumpectomy or mastectomy), radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, or specialized targeted therapy.
- Breast pain and cysts may be treated with medication. Surgery may be needed to remove a lump and if an abscess is present it must be drained.
What Is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is cancer arising in breast tissue. Cancers are diseases that start as abnormalities developed in cells, leading to abnormal growth patterns. Cancers can grow in place in their tissue of origin or spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.
- Although breast cancer is primarily a disease of women, about 1% of breast cancers occur in men.
- Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women with the exception of nonmelanoma skin cancers. It is the second leading cause of death by cancer in women, following only lung cancer.
- In 2016, the American Cancer Society estimated that 246,660 new cases of invasive breast cancer would be diagnosed among women in the United States and that a further 61,000 new cases of in-situ (noninvasive) breast cancer would be diagnosed.
- A woman has a lifetime risk of developing invasive breast cancer of about one in eight, or about 12% over the course of their entire lifetime. That risk is lower when they are younger and increases with age.
- Death rates from breast cancer have been gradually declining and continue to decline. These decreases are likely due both to increased breast cancer awareness and screening and improved treatment methods.
- There are currently about 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S.
What Are Breast Lumps and Cysts?
Breast changes are common. From the time a girl begins to develop breasts, begins menstruating and throughout life, women may experience various kinds of breast pain and other breast changes. Some of these changes normally occur during the menstrual cycle, during pregnancy, and with aging. Breast lumps, tenderness, and other changes may occur. Most breast lumps and other changes are not cancer.
The breast is composed of several glands and ducts that lead to the nipple and the surrounding colored area called the areola. The milk-carrying ducts extend from the nipple into the underlying breast tissue like the spokes of a wheel. Under the areola are lactiferous ducts. These fill with milk during lactation after a woman has a baby. When a girl reaches puberty, changing levels of hormones cause the ducts to grow and cause fat deposits in the breast tissue to increase. The glands that produce milk (mammary glands) that are connected to the surface of the breast by the lactiferous ducts may extend to the armpit area (axilla).
There are no muscles in the breasts, but muscles lie under each breast and cover the ribs. These normal structures inside the breasts can sometimes make them feel lumpy. Such lumpiness may be especially noticeable in women who are thin or who have small breasts.
- Lumps within breast tissue are usually found unexpectedly or during a routine monthly breast self-exam. Most lumps are not cancer but represent changes within the breast tissue. As your breasts develop, changes occur. These changes are influenced by normal hormonal variations.
- Breast pain is a common breast problem in younger women who are still having their periods, and happens less often in older women. Although pain is a concern, breast pain is rarely the only symptom of breast cancer. Most breast cancers involve a mass or lump.
- Cyclic mastalgia: About two-thirds of women with breast pain have a problem called cyclic mastalgia. This pain typically is worse before your menstrual cycle and usually is relieved at the time your period begins. The pain may also happen in varying degrees throughout the cycle. Because of its relationship to the menstrual cycle, it is believed to be caused by hormonal changes. This type of breast pain usually happens in younger women, although the condition has been reported in postmenopausal women who take hormone replacement therapy.
- Noncyclic mastalgia: Breast pain that is not associated with the menstrual cycle is called noncyclic mastalgia. It occurs less often than the cyclic form. It typically occurs in women older than 40 years and is not related to the menstrual cycle. It is sometimes linked to a fibrous mass (called a fibroadenoma) or a cyst.
- Breast pain or tenderness may also occur in a teenage boy. The condition, called gynecomastia, is enlargement of the male breast which may occur as a normal part of development, often during puberty.
- Breast infection: The breast is made up of hundreds of tiny milk-producing sacs called alveoli. They are arranged in grapelike clusters throughout the breast. Once breastfeeding begins, milk is produced in the alveoli and secreted into tube-shaped milk ducts that empty through the nipple. Mastitis is an infection of the tissue of the breast that occurs most frequently during the time of breastfeeding. This infection causes pain, swelling, redness, and increased temperature of the breast. It can occur when bacteria, often from the baby's mouth, enter a milk duct. This causes an infection and painful inflammation of the breast.
What Are the Symptoms of Breast Cancer vs. Cysts?
Early breast cancer has no symptoms. It is usually not painful.
Most breast cancer is discovered before symptoms are present, either by finding an abnormality on mammography or feeling a breast lump. A lump in the armpit or above the collarbone that does not go away may be a sign of cancer. Other possible symptoms are breast discharge, nipple inversion, or changes in the skin overlying the breast.
- Most breast lumps are not cancerous. All breast lumps, however, need to be evaluated by a doctor.
- Breast discharge is a common problem. Discharge is most concerning if it is from only one breast or if it is bloody. In any case, all breast discharge should be evaluated.
- Nipple inversion is a common variant of normal nipples, but nipple inversion that is a new development needs to be of concern.
- Changes in the skin of the breast include redness, changes in texture, and puckering. These changes are usually caused by skin diseases but occasionally can be associated with breast cancer.
- Breast lump: Although alarming when you find one, most breast lumps are not cancer.
- Breast pain: Most commonly associated with fibrocystic changes, pain may occur in both breasts, though one may be more painful than the other. With fibrocystic changes, the pain occurs about a week before your menstrual period. The pain usually goes away gradually with the onset of your period.
- Cyclic breast pain is typically most severe before your period and gets better during your period.
- It is usually described as bilateral (in both breasts), in the upper outer areas of your breast, and is often associated with lumpiness.
- Women tend to describe this pain as dull, aching, heavy, or sore, and it can radiate to your armpit or even down your arm.
- The intensity of pain can vary widely with the range of severity from mild to severe enough to limit clothing selections,sleep positions, or hugging.
- Noncyclic breast pain is typically unilateral (only on 1 side) with no relationship to your menstrual cycle.
- This pain may be constant or on and off and irregular. It is described as a sharp, stabbing, burning pain that appears to be right below the area around your nipple.
- If it is localized and persistent, it may be due to the presence of a fibroadenoma or cyst. But other more serious causes must be ruled out.
- Cyclic breast pain is typically most severe before your period and gets better during your period.
- Nipple discharge: May occur from an infection, or from cancer, or from very small tumors within a part of the brain called the pituitary gland, which influences secretions from the breast. In cases of infection, the discharge is usually brown or greenish. The color and characteristic of nipple discharge, however, cannot be used reliably as an indicator for, or against, the diagnosis of cancer. Your health care professional can make this assessment.
- Skin changes: In cancer there is fibrosis (scarring) of underlying breast structures (small ligaments) causing retraction (pulling) of the breast that can lead to dimpling of the skin or flattened or deviated nipples. Cancer may block up the drainage (lymphatics) of the breast, and your skin may take on the appearance of the peel of an orange. Take these symptoms very seriously and see your health care professional if they occur.
- Mastitis: Such breast infections may cause pain, redness, and warmth of the breast along with these symptoms:
- Tenderness and swelling
- Body aches
- Breast engorgement
- Fever and chills
- Abscess: Sometimes a breast abscess can complicate mastitis. Harmless, noncancerous masses such as abscesses are more often tender and frequently feel mobile beneath the skin. The edge of the mass is usually regular and well defined. Signs and symptoms that this more serious infection has occurred include the following:
- Tender lump in the breast that does not get smaller after breastfeeding a newborn (If the abscess is deep in the breast, you may not be able to feel it.)
- Pus draining from the nipple
- Persistent fever and no improvement of symptoms within 48 to 72 hours of treatment
What Causes Breast Cancer vs. Cysts?
Many women who develop breast cancer have no risk factors other than age and gender.
- Gender is the biggest risk because breast cancer occurs mostly in women.
- Age is another critical factor. Breast cancer may occur at any age, though the risk of breast cancer increases with age. The average woman at 30 years of age has one chance in 280 of developing breast cancer in the next 10 years. This chance increases to one in 70 for a woman 40 years of age, and to one in 40 at 50 years of age. A 60-year-old woman has a one in 30 chance of developing breast cancer in the next 10 years.
- White women are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer than African-American women in the U.S.
- A woman with a personal history of cancer in one breast has a three- to fourfold greater risk of developing a new cancer in the other breast or in another part of the same breast. This refers to the risk for developing a new tumor and not a recurrence (return) of the first cancer.
Genetic Causes of Breast Cancer
Family history has long been known to be a risk factor for breast cancer. Both maternal and paternal relatives are important. The risk is highest if the affected relative developed breast cancer at a young age, had cancer in both breasts, or if she is a close relative. First-degree relatives (mother, sister, daughter) are most important in estimating risk. Several second-degree relatives (grandmother, aunt) with breast cancer may also increase risk. Breast cancer in a male increases the risk for all his close female relatives. Having relatives with both breast and ovarian cancer also increases a woman's risk of developing breast cancer.
There is great interest in genes linked to breast cancer. About 5%-10% of breast cancers are believed to be hereditary, as a result of mutations, or changes, in certain genes that are passed along in families.
- BRCA1 and BRCA2 are abnormal genes that, when inherited, markedly increase the risk of breast cancer to a lifetime risk estimated between 40%-85%. Women with these abnormal genes also have an increased likelihood of developing ovarian cancer. Women who have the BRCA1 gene tend to develop breast cancer at an early age.
- Testing for these genes is expensive and may not always be covered by insurance.
- The issues around testing are complicated, and women who are interested in testing should discuss their risk factors with their health-care providers and may also want to talk to a genetic counselor.
Hormonal Causes of Breast Cancer
Hormonal influences play a role in the development of breast cancer.
- Women who start their periods at an early age (12 or younger) or experience a late menopause (55 or older) have a slightly higher risk of developing breast cancer. Conversely, being older at the time of the first menstrual period and early menopause tend to protect one from breast cancer.
- Having a child before 30 years of age may provide some protection, and having no children may increase the risk for developing breast cancer.
- Using oral contraceptive pills means that a woman has a slightly increased risk of breast cancer than women who have never used them. This risk appears to decrease and return to normal with time once the pills are stopped.
- A large study conducted by the Women's Health Initiative showed an increased risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women who were on a combination of estrogen and progesterone for several years. Therefore, women who are considering hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms need to discuss the risk versus the benefit with their health-care providers. Quality of life concerns may need to be weighed against the relative risks of such medications.
Lifestyle and Dietary Causes of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer seems to occur more frequently in countries with high dietary intake of fat, and being overweight or obese is a known risk factor for breast cancer, particularly in postmenopausal women.
- This link is thought to be an environmental influence rather than genetic. For example, Japanese women, at low risk for breast cancer while in Japan, increase their risk of developing breast cancer after coming to the United States.
- Several studies comparing groups of women with high- and low-fat diets, however, have failed to show a difference in breast cancer rates.
The use of alcohol is also an established risk factor for the development of breast cancer. The risk increases with the amount of alcohol consumed. Women who consume two to five alcoholic beverages per day have a risk about one and a half times that of nondrinkers for the development of breast cancer. Consumption of one alcoholic drink per day results in a slightly elevated risk.
Studies are also showing that regular exercise may reduce a woman's risk of developing breast cancer. Studies have not definitively established how much activity is needed for a significant reduction in risk. One study from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) showed that as little as one and a quarter to two and a half hours per week of brisk walking reduced a woman's breast cancer risk by 18%.
Benign Breast Disease
- Fibrocystic breast changes are very common. Fibrocystic breasts are lumpy with some thickened tissue and are frequently associated with breast discomfort, especially right before the menstrual period. This condition does not lead to breast cancer.
- However, certain other types of benign breast changes, such as those diagnosed on biopsy as proliferative or hyperplastic, do predispose women to the later development of breast cancer.
Environmental Causes of Breast Cancer
Radiation treatment increases the likelihood of developing breast cancer but only after a long delay. For example, women who received radiation therapy to the upper body for treatment of Hodgkin's disease before 30 years of age have a significantly higher rate of breast cancer than the general population.
Many possible causes exist for pain or tenderness in one of your breasts or in both breasts. Most often the pain can be attributed to harmless causes such as puberty or pregnancy. It can also be a recurrent problem for women with cyclical pain associated with the menstrual cycle. Although cancer is a major concern for most women, it is rarely the cause of isolated breast pain.
Some causes of breast pain are:
- Fibrocystic breast disease
- Premenstrual syndrome, cyclic mastalgia
- Normal hormonal fluctuations
- Onset of puberty or menopause
- Breastfeeding (nursing)
- Estrogen therapy
- Chest wall tenderness (costochondritis)
- Injury to the breast (trauma, after breast surgery)
- Shingles (pain is only in 1 breast, usually accompanied by a rash)
- Use of certain medications such as digoxin (Lanoxin), methyldopa (Aldomet), spironolactone (Aldactone), oxymetholone (Anadrol), and chlorpromazine (Thorazine)
- An infection in the breast (breast abscess, mastitis)
- Breast cancer
If you have a lump in your breast, your doctor will check for the following:
- Fibrocystic changes: Fibrocystic changes, previously called Fibrocystic Disease, are the most common benign or harmless (does not threaten health or life) condition of the breast. Changes can occur in one or both breasts, most commonly in the upper and outer sections. You may feel a thickening of the fibrous tissue that supports your breasts. Common lumps, called fibroadenomas, occur during the reproductive years. They feel rubbery and moveable. They often occur with fibrocystic changes.
- Cysts: Breast cysts are fluid-filled lumps. They can be tender, especially before your period.
- Breast cancer: Some lumps may be cancer. Breast cancer is usually associated with the risk factors of age, genetics, or hormones. About 75% of breast cancers occur in women older than 50 years, 23% occur in women ages 30 to 50 years, and 2% occur in women under 30 years of age.
- Genetics is believed to play a role if your mother or sister (referred to as first-degree relatives) were diagnosed with breast cancer before menopause. You have a two to three times higher risk than the general population of developing breast cancer.
- Hormonal factors may play a role. If you have had the following conditions, you may have an increased incidence of breast cancer (possibly because of longer exposure to a hormone called estrogen).
- Had your first period at an early age
- Had menopause at a later age
- Have never had a child or your first pregnancy was after age 30
- Cancer may also be explained by one of many theories including exposure to viruses, chemicals, radiation, dietary factors, and genes (for example, BRCA-1). No single theory explains all types of breast cancer.
What Is the Treatment for Breast Cancer vs. Cysts?
Surgery is generally the first step after the diagnosis of breast cancer. The type of surgery is dependent upon the size and type of tumor and the patient's health and preferences. The choice of procedures should be discussed with your health-care team as any approach has advantages and disadvantages.
- Lumpectomy involves removal of the cancerous tissue and a surrounding area of normal tissue. This is not considered curative and should almost always be done in association with other therapy such as radiation therapy with or without chemotherapy or hormonal therapy.
- At the time of lumpectomy, the axillary lymph nodes (the glands in the armpit) need to be evaluated for the spread of cancer. This can be done by either removing the lymph nodes or by sentinel node biopsy (biopsy of the closest lymph node to the tumor).
- If a sentinel node biopsy is done at the time of lumpectomy, it may allow the surgeon to remove only some of the lymph nodes. In this procedure, a dye is injected into the area of the tumor. The path of the substance is then followed as it travels to the lymph nodes. The first node reached is the sentinel node. This node is considered most important to biopsy when evaluating the spread of the tumor.
- If the sentinel node biopsy is positive, the surgeon will usually remove of all of the lymph nodes found in the axilla (armpit).
- Simple mastectomy removes the entire breast but no other structures. If the cancer is invasive, this surgery alone will not cure it. It is a common treatment for DCIS, a noninvasive type of breast cancer.
- Modified radical mastectomy removes the breast and the axillary (underarm) lymph nodes but does not remove the underlying muscle of the chest wall. Although additional chemotherapy or hormonal therapy is almost always offered, surgery alone is considered adequate to control the disease if it has not metastasized.
- Radical mastectomy involves removal of the breast and the underlying chest-wall muscles, as well as the underarm contents. This surgery is no longer done because current therapies are less disfiguring and have fewer complications.
Many women have treatment in addition to surgery, which may include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or hormonal therapy. The decision about which additional treatments are needed is based upon the stage and type of cancer, the presence of hormone (estrogen and progesterone) and/or HER2/neu receptors, and patient health and preferences.
Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer
Radiation therapy is used to kill tumor cells if there are any left after surgery.
- Radiation is a local treatment and therefore works only on tumor cells that are directly in its beam.
- Radiation is used most often in people who have undergone conservative surgery such as lumpectomy. Conservative surgery is designed to leave as much of the breast tissue in place as possible.
- Radiation therapy is usually given five days a week over five to six weeks. Each treatment takes only a few minutes.
- Radiation therapy is painless and has relatively few side effects. However, it can irritate the skin or cause a burn similar to a bad sunburn in the area.
- Radiation therapy in breast cancer is usually external beam radiation, where the radiation is pointed at a specific area of the breast from the outside. Rarely internal radiation therapy is used, where radioactive pellets are implanted close to the cancer. Newer techniques of rapid partial breast radiation have been developed and may be appropriate in certain circumstances. The use of radiation treatment at the same time as surgery is done more in other countries that here, but continues to be explored.
Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer
Chemotherapy consists of the administration of medications that kill cancer cells or stop them from growing. In breast cancer, three different chemotherapy strategies may be used:
- Adjuvant chemotherapy is given to some people who have had potentially curative treatment for their breast cancer, such as surgery and for whom radiation may be planned. The possibility that breast cancer cells may have spread microscopically away from the area operated upon or to be radiated is thought to be what results in the metastases developing at a later date. Adjuvant therapy is given to try to eliminate these hidden, but potentially still present cells to reduce the risk of relapse. The characteristics of the primary cancerous tumor both grossly, microscopically, and on genomic analysis help the doctor to judge what risk there is that such hidden cells could be present.
- Presurgical chemotherapy (known as neoadjuvant chemotherapy) is given to shrink a large tumor and/or to kill stray cancer cells. This increases the chances that surgery will get rid of the cancer completely.
- Therapeutic chemotherapy is routinely administered to women with metastatic breast cancer that has spread beyond the confines of the breast or local area.
- Most chemotherapy agents are given through an IV line, but some are given as pills.
- Chemotherapy is usually given in "cycles." Each cycle includes a period of intensive treatment lasting a few days or weeks followed by a week or two of recovery. Most people with breast cancer receive at least two, more often four, cycles of chemotherapy to begin with. Tests are then repeated to see what effect the therapy has had on the cancer.
- Chemotherapy differs from radiation in that it treats the entire body and thus may target stray tumor cells that may have migrated from the breast area.
- The side effects of chemotherapy are well known. Side effects depend on which drugs are used. Many of these drugs have side effects that include loss of hair, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, fatigue, and low blood cell counts. Low blood counts may cause patients to be more susceptible to infections, to feel sick and tired, or to bleed more easily than usual. Medications are available to treat or prevent many of these side effects.
Hormonal Therapy for Breast Cancer
Hormonal therapy may be given because breast cancers (especially those that have ample estrogen or progesterone receptors) are frequently sensitive to changes in hormones. Hormonal therapy may be given to prevent recurrence of a tumor or for treatment of existing disease.
- In some cases, it is beneficial to suppress a woman's natural hormones with drugs; in others, it is beneficial to add hormones.
- In premenopausal women, ovarian ablation (removal of the hormonal effects of the ovary) may be useful. This can be accomplished with medications that block the ovaries' ability to produce estrogens or by surgically removing the ovaries, or less commonly with radiation.
- Until recently, tamoxifen (Nolvadex), an antiestrogen (a drug that blocks the effect of estrogen), has been the most commonly prescribed hormone treatment. It is used both for breast cancer prevention and for treatment.
- Fulvestrant (Faslodex) is another drug that acts via the estrogen receptor, but instead of blocking it, this drug eliminates it. It can be effective if the breast cancer is no longer responding to tamoxifen. Fulvestrant is only given to women who are already in menopause and is approved for use in women with advanced breast cancer.
- Palbociclib (Ibrance) is a drug that has been shown to improve survival in women with metastatic estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer.
- Toremifene (Fareston) is another anti-estrogen drug closely related to tamoxifen.
- Aromatase inhibitors, which block the effect of a key hormone affecting the tumor, may be more effective than tamoxifen in the adjuvant setting. The drugs anastrozole (Arimidex), exemestane (Aromasin), and letrozole (Femara) have a different set of side effects and risks than tamoxifen.
- Aromatase inhibitors are rapidly moving into first-line hormonal therapy regimens. In addition, they are frequently used after two or more years of tamoxifen therapy.
- Megace (megestrol acetate) is a drug similar to progesterone which may also be used as hormonal therapy.
- Targeted Therapy for Breast Cancer
- Targeted therapy is a type of treatment that has been developed to directly work against some of the cellular changes that have been identified in breast cancers. Examples of targeted therapies include monoclonal antibodies against cancer cell-specific proteins.
- Specialized treatments, known as targeted therapies, have been developed to treat breast cancers that express the HER2 protein. Targeted therapies are newer forms of cancer treatment that specifically attack cancer cells and do less damage to normal cells than traditional chemotherapy. Targeted therapies for HER2-positive breast cancer include the following:
- Trastuzumab (Herceptin) is an antibody against the HER2 protein Adding treatment with trastuzumab to chemotherapy given after surgery has been shown to lower the recurrence rate and death rate in women with HER2-positive early breast cancers. Using trastuzumab along with chemotherapy has become a standard adjuvant treatment for these women.
- Pertuzumab (Perjeta) also works against HER2-positive breast cancers by blocking the cancer cells' ability to receive growth signals from HER2.
- Lapatinib (Tykerb) is another drug that targets the HER2 protein and may be given combined with chemotherapy. It is used in women with HER2-positive breast cancer that is no longer helped by chemotherapy and trastuzumab.
- T-DM1 or ado-trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla) is a combination of Herceptin and the chemotherapy medication emtansine. Kadcyla was designed to deliver emtansine to cancer cells by attaching it to Herceptin.
When your breast pain is severe enough to interfere with your lifestyle and when it occurs for more than a few days each month, you may be treated with medications. Before treatment is begun, document the frequency and severity of your pain on a daily basis for at least one to two menstrual cycles. This pain diary will also help check your response to treatment.
When nonmedical treatment fails to control cyclic breast pain, your health care professional may prescribe birth control pills or danazol (Danocrine). Be sure to ask about possible side effects of these medications and report them to your doctor if you experience them.
- Many other drugs have been tried in the treatment of cyclic breast pain and have been found not to be useful or are generally not recommended because of their side effects.
- Noncyclic breast pain is managed by treating the underlying cause. If a mass or lump is found, it is checked and treated. When your breast pain is caused by chest wall tenderness, it is treated with anti-inflammatory medication or rarely by steroid injections.
- If no cause for the noncyclic pain is found, a pain treatment protocol for cyclic pain is usually tried and often found to be successful.
- For simple mastitis without an abscess, oral antibiotics are prescribed. The antibiotic chosen will depend on the clinical situation, your doctor's preference, and your medication allergies, if any. This medicine is safe to use while breastfeeding and will not harm the baby.
- Chronic mastitis in nonbreastfeeding women is more complicated. Recurrent episodes of mastitis are common. Occasionally this type of infection responds poorly to antibiotics. Therefore, close follow-up with your doctor is mandatory.
- In general, surgery is not necessary to treat breast pain unless a mass is found. Surgery is performed to remove a lump.
- If an abscess is present, it must be drained. After injection of local anesthetic, the doctor may drain an abscess near the surface of the skin either by aspiration with a needle and syringe or by using a small incision. This can be done in the doctor's office or Emergency Department.
- If the abscess is deep in the breast, it may require surgical drainage in the operating room. This is usually done under general anesthesia in order to minimize pain and completely drain the abscess. If your infection worsens in spite of oral antibiotics or if you have a deep abscess requiring surgical treatment, you may be admitted to the hospital for IV antibiotics.
What Is the Prognosis for Breast Cancer vs. Cysts?
Due to improved screening and awareness of breast cancer coupled with advances in therapy, death rates from breast cancer have been continuously declining since 1990. In particular, noninvasive (in situ) cancers are associated with a very high cure rate, but even advanced tumors have been successfully treated. It is important to remember that breast cancer is a highly treatable disease and that screening for breast cancer often enables the detection of tumors at their earliest stages when treatment has the best chance for success.
Premenstrual breast pain usually increases with age and then generally stops at menopause. Most women are able to control their symptoms without hormonal treatment. When treated promptly, the majority of breast infections go away quickly without serious complications.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
"HER2 Testing for Breast Cancer." Cancer.net. <http://www.cancer.net/research-and-advocacy/asco-care-and-treatment-recommendations-patients/her2-testing-breast-cancer>.
Sabel, Michael S. "Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of a palpable breast mass." UpToDate.com. <http://www.uptodate.com/contents/clinical-manifestations-and-diagnosis-of-a-palpable-breast-mass?source=search_result&search=Clinical+manifestations+and+diagnosis+of+a+palpable+breast+mass&selectedTitle=1~150>.
United States. National Cancer Institute. "General Information About Breast Cancer." Sept. 25, 2014. <http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/
United States. National Cancer Institute. "SEER Stat Fact Sheets: Breast Cancer." <http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/