You'll likely see your primary care provider to evaluate new breast lumps or changes in your breasts. You may be referred to a breast-health specialist based on a clinical breast exam or findings on an imaging test.
What you can do
The first evaluation focuses on your medical history. You'll discuss your symptoms, their relation to your menstrual cycle and any other relevant information. To prepare for this discussion, make lists that include:
- All your symptoms, even if they seem unrelated to the reason you scheduled the appointment
- Key personal information, including major stresses or recent life changes
- All medications, vitamins, herbal remedies and supplements that you regularly take
- Questions to ask your doctor, from most important to least important to be sure you cover the points you're most concerned about
Basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's causing my symptoms?
- Does having cysts increase my risk of breast cancer?
- What kinds of tests will I need?
- What treatment is likely to work best?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- Are there any restrictions I'll need to follow?
- Are there any printed materials that I can take home? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask questions anytime you don't understand something.
What to expect from your doctor
Be prepared to answer questions that your doctor may ask, such as:
Oct. 08, 2015
- When did you first notice the breast cyst or lump?
- Have you noticed a change in the size of the breast cyst or lump?
- What symptoms have you experienced, and how long have you had them?
- Do your symptoms occur in one or both breasts?
- Have any symptoms changed over time?
- Do you have breast pain? If so, how severe is it?
- Do you have nipple discharge? If so, does it occur in one or both breasts?
- How does your menstrual cycle affect the breast cyst or lump?
- When was your last mammogram?
- Do you have a family history of breast cysts or lumps?
- Have you previously had a breast cyst or lump, a breast biopsy or breast cancer
- Non-cancerous breast conditions. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_6X_Non_Cancerous_Breast_Conditions_59.asp?sitearea. Accessed July 15, 2015.
- Golshan M, et al. Breast pain. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 15, 2015.
- Salzman B, et al. Common breast problems. American Family Physician. 2012;86:343.
- Evening primrose oil. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Aug. 2, 2015.
- Understanding breast changes: A health guide for women. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/screening/understanding-breast-changes. Accessed July 15, 2015.
- Laronga C, et al. Breast cysts: Clinical manifestations, diagnosis and management. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 15, 2015.
- Pruthi S (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 17, 2015.
- Ferrara A. Benign breast disease. Radiologic Technology. 2011;82:447M.
- Evening primrose oil. Bethesda, Md. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/eveningprimrose. Accessed Aug. 2, 2015.