Do fibrocystic breast changes increase my risk of breast cancer?

Answers from Sandhya Pruthi, M.D.

No. Fibrocystic breast changes don't increase your risk of breast cancer.

Fibrocystic breast changes are common. Women with this noncancerous (benign) condition often have lumpy, nodular breasts and experience breast pain that varies throughout the menstrual cycle. Doctors don't know exactly what causes fibrocystic breast changes, but the condition is likely due to hormone changes during your menstrual cycle that affect breast tissue.

Although fibrocystic breast changes don't increase your risk of breast cancer, having fibrocystic breasts may make it more difficult for you to feel a new breast lump or other abnormal change — such as a persistent breast lump that doesn't go away with your next menstrual cycle or thickening or firmness within lumpy breast tissue.

It's important to become familiar with how your breasts normally feel so that you'll know when something just isn't right. If you detect something unusual, make an appointment with your doctor to have it evaluated.

Feb. 18, 2015 See more Expert Answers