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Topic: All the vague symptoms of fibrocystic breasts.

Forum: Benign Breast Conditions —

A safe place to worry for members who have not been diagnosed with breast cancer, but have concerns about their breasts.

Posted on: Mar 14, 2019 08:08AM

ne0n wrote:

Hey all,

Hope everyone here is having a great week. I'm mostly having one, but I have fibrocystic breasts, and I've entered the PMS phase of my cycle, so I'm dealing with all the fun that comes with that.

Last year around June or July I found a lump, got a benign fibroadenoma diagnosis and was told I have fibrocystic breasts. I also have a strong family history, and it was a scary time for me to think and process all this. I tend to only have one symptoms in one breast, but my work is very much right-handed so often I'm working my right arm and shoulder for hours more each day than my left, and I suspect some of it is linked to that. I was subsequently told during a 6 month follow up that I had 5 fibroadenomas (before that they said 2, then 3... who knows), a complicated cyst and a few small cysts. I've been advised this is all normal, so in spite of it still being a heavy and scary thing, I've done my best to be proactive with my condition. I almost entirely quit drinking, I eat as healthy as I can, haven't had animal fats for years, take multivitamins and evening primrose oil. I quit sugar and rarely have it in my diet at all. I use castor oil packs now and then and do skin brushing a couple times per week. I don't take hormones, I drink water, I exercise several times a week and sometimes every day. I meditate every morning. I quit coffee and I drink green tea instead. I've been told that at some point, when I can afford it, I should go for genetic testing, and because of my familial risk I'll go in for ultrasounds twice a year and hopefully get benign results every time.

So, in the almost-year since I first started battling this, I've noticed that my symptoms certainly are linked to my menstrual cycle. The lumpiness in my one breast is noticeably worse, though my last check up seemed normal. It feels like veins and maybe one weird bump or two, but they tend towards benign features. Today, I started getting stinging pains in one spot where I suspect a complicated cyst. I don't want to freak out, because truly it could just be an odd PMS thing, but I'm just not sure what else to DO to calm down and articles aren't helping. I hate that it's so easy to feel scared and freaked out, and I'm trying to stay grounded and just tell myself, 'it's the benign condition, nothing more.'

I guess what I'm asking is, what are your symptoms? Do you get specifics? Online lists often seem SO vague to me. It can be so hard to figure out what the difference is, even though I regularly touch my breasts (even just to massage them gently... I'm fairly familiar with my lumps and bumps by now). How do you all stay grounded? I want to help my breasts be as healthy as they can be. :)

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Mar 14, 2019 04:54PM Andie1209 wrote:

I’m glad someone else has only one fibrocystic breast and it’s my right one too! I’ve had shooting pains behind me right nipple (although that was 3 years ago) and subsided when I cut out my daily cup of coffee. I also have fullness in my right armpit and if I poke around my breast tissue that goes up into my right armpit then my armpit starts hurting (mild). My surgeon has confirmed I have a decent amount of breast tissue that goes up into my right armpit (not the case on my left side). I’ve started to exercise, cut out caffeine as much as possible, and avoid products with soy. I don’t have a family history of bc but it’s still creates anxiety between 6 month follow ups! I go in 8 weeks...can’t get here soon enoug

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Mar 15, 2019 02:27AM ne0n wrote:

Yeah! I told the doctor I suspected at least some of the pain is because I'm right handed, she gave me a 'maybe' but unfortunately, due to the nature of my work, I can't change how much I use it. :/ I get armpit pains too, sadly cutting out coffee and soy don't seem to have done much (I don't eat meat, so soy has definitely been around in my diet for a long time, though I've had none whatsoever in the past 2 months and haven't noticed a difference... I'm happy to moderate it, but, SIIIGH). I also go in about 8-10 weeks from now for my next follow up, my anxiety always feels like it should be sooner, but going too often probably wouldn't help things at all. May our scans be clear forever. <3

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Mar 15, 2019 08:21AM IchangedMyName wrote:

hello hello not to freak anyone out here but I too had same diagnosis of right side breast fibroadenoma back in 2011 - verified by ultrasound and mammogram.

When I went back for Follow-up in 2015, they decided they wanted to do a core needle biopsy. I got scared. I canceled my appointment last minute. I kept telling myself it was normal fibrocystic breast changes. Everything that I read and researched said all of the symptoms were totally normal with fibroadenomas. My breast would hurt with PMS, was relieved once period would start. But in February 2017 my breast started changing - it got swollen and hot with my period. Pretty quickly after that period my lymph node swelled in my armpit and I finally took myself back to the doctors as I knew for certain there was no denying my situation.

I think, retrospectively, I am not sure if the cyst was always there and then it so happened that I also got BC on top of it? We have no idea! So many unknowns with cancer. What I can tell you is that I became unbelievably fatigued, anxious, lost my sex drive and my periods were “harder” than they’d ever been about 3 years prior to my diagnosis.

I always was completely healthy and active. Some red wine here and there.

I guess my point is, if you really want to be sure, you could have cyst biopsied so you can stop living with so much worry?

I am honestly not sure which I would have preferred: to be diagnosed possibly stage 2 or 3 and have surgery and aggressive now-adjuvant chemo and then who knows what or be where I am now which is diagnosed stage 4 de novo and stable on systemic treatments. I feel as if I most likely would have ended up stage 4 anyway so in some bizarre way I saved myself from going through all those heavy treatments? It’s a total mindf@ck!

It’s all very scary and anxiety-producing. You have to decide what is best for you. Do you get it thoroughly checked out now or wait for signs to worsen living with this anxiety over your head constantly?

💫 🧚🏾‍♀️ 💫 🧚🏾‍♀️ 💫 🧚🏽‍♂️ 💫 🧚🏽‍♂️ 💫 🧚🏾‍♀️ 💫 🧚🏾‍♀️ 💫 🧚🏾‍♀️ 💫 🧚🏾‍♀️ Dx 3/25/2017, IDC, Right, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Hormonal Therapy 4/4/2017 Femara (letrozole) Targeted Therapy Ibrance (palbociclib)
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Mar 15, 2019 09:11AM ne0n wrote:

Hey there lovefromphilly,

I have already had a core needle biopsy on the fibroadenoma, and the last time I got scanned (December), I requested the cyst be drained. I was advised to wait on it. If the pain persists though, I'd go through it again. I take your story to heart. The biopsy was a little worse than expected last time (dense breasts, had to have samples taken 4 times), and it left scar tissue, so I'm trying to assess that all carefully. I think that too many tests might actually leave scar tissue and make it more difficult to screen... but I hear you. It's extremely stressful, and I'm trying to be as proactive as possible without increasing my anxiety in the process. :/ I will talk to my doctor about potential screening when I see her next.

I'm sorry to hear about your diagnosis. That sounds like a really difficult situation to be in, and I hope you're stabl and feeling well today.

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Mar 15, 2019 11:05AM Andie1209 wrote:

I had a core needle biopsy too on my mass and it was determined to be fibrosis...had path slides read at 2 different hospitals and they both agreed. I also had a small fluid filled cyst in the same breast which they didn’t do anything with and I’m hoping it’s gone when I go back in for my 6 month diagnostic mammo and u/s. I am so sorry about your diagnosis and hope you’re doing ok with your treatments

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Mar 15, 2019 11:33AM IchangedMyName wrote:

thanks friends! Fortunately I am doing really really well with the treatments. even with all the anxiety and worry, it was still a major shock to the system.

I am glad you are both taking such good care of yourselves and really, we can’t be too overly cautious. I think BC is a reality all women face. Some face it head on and some ignore it.

Just please remember to have lots of fun and enjoy every moment of this beautiful precious life!!!

💫 🧚🏾‍♀️ 💫 🧚🏾‍♀️ 💫 🧚🏽‍♂️ 💫 🧚🏽‍♂️ 💫 🧚🏾‍♀️ 💫 🧚🏾‍♀️ 💫 🧚🏾‍♀️ 💫 🧚🏾‍♀️ Dx 3/25/2017, IDC, Right, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Hormonal Therapy 4/4/2017 Femara (letrozole) Targeted Therapy Ibrance (palbociclib)
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Mar 21, 2019 05:23PM Lemonslemons16 wrote:


I’ve read through your posts and dx and wondered if you could tell me (and sorry if I missed it)...

Those of you with the fibrocystic breast diagnosis (on one side), were all cysts and lumps palpable? Did your pain feel worse when the area was touched, during movement or all the time?

I’m having a mammogram and us next week as well as meeting with a breast specialist. I’ve been neglecting breast pain for too long and today my obgyn declared that the area I’m specifically finding painful is “dense tissue” and ordered imaging. To me, it doesn’t feel all that different from the same spot on my other breast except it hurts a lot when pushed hard. I’ve also had nipple pain but she didn’t see any concerns with my nipple.

Sometimes it doesn’t feel like pain at all but more of a fullness or tightness and when I reach with my right arm, I feel it. The pain has never been so that I would take ibuprofen or anything. I’m just hoping for something benign and wondering what other benign conditions present with pain in the absence of any mass (that I’ve found or my obgyn found).

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Mar 22, 2019 01:44PM Erinashley19 wrote:


I have a complexcyst that was very very painful at first (that’s the only reason i discovered it) but could not be felt. The pain is less now but I still can’t feel a thing. I have dense breasts that are more lunpy on one side so maybe I just can’t tell between the cyst and other breast tissue (my on couldn’t either). Either way I certainly don’t have a defined lump.

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