Breast Cancer VS Breast Cyst: How Are The Two Different

Updated on 27 November 2019

According to recent statistics, breast cancer accounts for about 14 percent of all cancers affecting women in India, making it the most common type of cancer that Indian women suffer from. Early detection greatly improves the chances of successful treatment and this highlights the importance of breast cancer awareness and knowing what is breast cancer. During self-examination, however, it is rather difficult to tell apart benign breast cysts from cancerous lumps of the breast. Let us take a look at the two conditions and understand the medical implications of both.

Breast Cyst vs Breast Cancer - What is the difference?

Breast Cysts

A breast cyst is a small, usually harmless sac like structure filled with fluid. These are mostly rounded and do not have sharp edges. They may be soft or firm to the touch. You may have a single cyst or multiple breast cysts at the same time. Breast cysts are common among women undergoing perimenopause. If you are a postmenopausal woman undergoing hormone therapy, you are at a greater risk of developing a breast cyst. Breast cysts may manifest symptoms such as breast pain, tenderness and swelling of the breast. Sometimes, if these are infected symptoms could include fevers, chills, body aches, and abscesses.

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is cancer that develops in the breast tissue. It is malignant and if left untreated will turn fatal. Breast cancer could also spread to other parts of the body. While breast cancer may also manifest as a lump in the breast, it is often accompanied by other symptoms such as dimpling of the breast skin, nipple inversion, bloody discharge from the nipple, weight loss, swollen lymph nodes etc. Women who are obese, smokers, have a personal or family history of breast cancer, exposed to prolonged hormone therapy etc. are at a higher risk. Certain genetic, racial, and age factors also increase the risk of developing breast cancer.

When to seek help

It is usually difficult to tell apart a breast cancer from a breast cyst through physical examination. Regular self-examination is, however, an important tool in diagnosing both conditions. If your doctor suspects breast cancer, he or she may order imaging tests such as a mammogram or a breast MRI to screen for cancer. If a cyst is found to be benign, the doctor may recommend draining the cyst or may administer internal medication. In rare cases, the doctor may also recommend surgery for the removal of the cyst. In the case of breast cancer, however, lumpectomy or mastectomy is often recommended. Following breast cancer surgery in Hyderabad or any major city in India, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and even radiation may be recommended. The presence of breast cysts does not increase the risk of developing breast cancer but their presence may make it difficult to detect any other cancerous growth of the breast at an early stage. In both cases, it is important to seek medical help as soon as a lump is detected in the breast. It is important to remember that mortality rates due to breast cancer are on the decline primarily due to increased awareness, better screening technologies, and treatment methods available these days.

CARE Hospitals is regarded as the best breast cancer hospital in India, having an expert team of oncologists and cancer specialists who work together in areas of expertise to provide the highest level of patient care.





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