On the Internet, you can find data that 1 in 8 women develop breast cancer during their lifetime. And the risk increases with age. But many women have little to no information about non-cancerous or benign breast diseases — cystic mastopathy, simple cysts or adenomas. These pathologies are often manifested by the same primary warning signs as breast cancer: seals appear in the breast or changes are determined during ultrasound, mammography. Along with mastitis (the so-called inflammation of the gland), for some benign formations, chest pain, discharge from the nipples may be typical.
Diseases of the breast
Women should understand that not every lump in the breast is a cancerous tumor. Many formations are of a benign nature. However, if a suspicious area is found, it is important to be examined by a mammologist and determine the cause of the neoplasm. Many dyshormonal diseases affect not only the uterus and ovaries, but also the mammary gland, leading to changes in its structure. The structure of pathologies largely depends on the age and condition of the female body. So, after childbirth, inflammation of the gland (mastitis) associated with stagnation of milk or a sharp cessation of lactation is most often noted. In adolescence, cysts or fibrous formations associated with an imbalance of hormones are possible. Although such diseases for the most part do not require radical interventions, the condition of the breast should be monitored. A small part of benign neoplasms during life can transform into cancerous tumors.
Although there are many types of benign neoplasms and diseases of the breast, the most common are:
- Mastitis (acute inflammation of the gland);
- Simple or complex cysts;
- Fibrocystic mastopathy;
- Ductal or lobular hyperplasia.
Simple or complex female breast cysts
A cyst is a fluid-filled, encapsulated sac that forms in many parts of the body. In the area of the mammary gland, the cyst usually manifests itself as a tumor-like formation, soft or elastic consistency. Sometimes when pressed, a woman feels pain. During the menstrual cycle, the cyst may change its size and density somewhat; closer to menstruation, it may become more painful. A simple cyst is filled with fluid and does not develop into cancer. Most cysts resolve without a trace after a few months.
Complex cysts are filled with fluid, but may have pathological inclusions in the lumen. If they form closer to menopause, over time they can transform into malignant tumors. If the cyst is large and irregular, the doctor may order a biopsy to rule out neoplasia.
In many women, breast tissue may become denser throughout life, with numerous inclusions of small, simple cysts. This is a benign disease of the breast — cystic mastopathy. Many experts, given the complex changes in the breast associated with hormonal and influences, suggest calling the pathology fibrocystic mastopathy, thereby emphasizing that in addition to cysts, there are additional tissue changes.
If cystic mastopathy is determined, when probing, the breast tissue may have a pasty, «rubber» or bumpy, dense texture. During the cycle, under the influence of female hormones, swelling, swelling or pain in the chest, increased sensitivity to touch or pressure is possible. Usually, chest discomfort and pain peak towards the end of the menstrual cycle. With the onset of bleeding comes relief.
Breast changes typical of cystic breast disease often resolve with time and usually do not require treatment. To make sure of this, a mammogram or ultrasound is performed to exclude tumors. If breast changes caused by fibrocystic breasts are causing pain, experts recommend using over-the-counter pain relievers, wearing a supportive bra, or applying a warm compress.
Lactational mastitis: inflammation of the gland during breastfeeding
The most common problem with which women turn to a mammologist or gynecologist, surgeon is lactational mastitis. This is an acute inflammation of the gland that occurs when milk stagnates in the ducts against the background of engorgement of the gland or lactostasis. Through the ducts in the nipple from the skin, bacteria penetrate into the breast, which provoke inflammation of the gland. The main signs of mastitis are chest pain, redness of the skin, swelling of the gland and fever, general malaise. If the outflow of milk does not normalize, an abscess may form, an accumulation of pus in the area of u200bu200bone of the lobules. With this condition, immediate surgical treatment is necessary to prevent complications.
Fibroadenomas: education without pain and discomfort
Fibroadenomas are dense, smooth, elastic, rounded formations that can reach sizes of 10-20 mm. These non-cancerous breast tumors are most common in women aged 20 to 30 years, more often — nulliparous. They tend to decrease or disappear after a woman becomes pregnant, has a baby, or goes through menopause.
Most often, fibroadenomas are found, they are small and dense, not soldered to the surrounding tissues. When probing, there is no pain and discomfort; during the menstrual cycle, they do not change size and shape. Doctors usually only monitor them and do breast exams every 6 months.
Ductal or lobular hyperplasia
Although these are benign diseases of the breast, they still require close monitoring by specialists. They are characterized by an overgrowth of breast cells in the breast lobules or ducts (thin tubes that carry milk to the nipple). The designation of ductal and lobular dysplasia depends on how these cells look under a microscope. Hyperplasia is divided into normal or atypical:
- Ordinary hyperplasia refers to a simple overgrowth of breast cells in a lobe or duct.
- Atypical hyperplasia refers to the overgrowth of cells that look abnormal or distorted under a microscope. This can increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.
Hyperplasia is rarely manifested by seals in the chest and pain. It is usually detected on routine mammography and confirmed on needle biopsy. In cases of atypical hyperplasia, doctors do a surgical biopsy and take a little more of the surrounding tissue.
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