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Fibrocystic Breast Disease Overview, Cancer Risk, Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

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Fibrocystic Breast Disease

Any type of breast discomfort should be an alarm sign for every woman. When this is cyclical, characterized by unilateral or bilateral local pain and feeling of tension, most likely it translates into fibrocystic breast disease. It affects a large percentage of women since late adolescence to menopause. The higher incidence is found in woman of childbearing age (30 years) . Besides what journals are writing,  the diagnosis of this disease is relatively difficult to achieve.

For many women the symptoms are reduced in intensity, feeling of tension or slight pain to palpation of the breasts beeing the only warning signs. The most common manifestation is in the range of time before menstruation. The other part of women perceive the pain as excruciating, a relatively uneven mass is felt, with areas of localized nodules in both breasts.

 Fibrocystic Breast Disease

Fibrocystic Breast Disease Causes

Fibrocystic breast disease affects the glandular tissue; the only known function of the glandular acinus is milk secretion. They are surrounded by a mass of fat and connective tissue with supportive role. Glandular acini are composed of 2 types of cells, which secrete milk interconnected with the galactophorous channels and others arranged as a shirt, peripheral epithelial cells. Key to the change of the structure of the glandular tissue is given by the hormonal variations during the menstrual cycle and more specifically the levels of progesterone and estrogen as they can have a direct effect on the breast tissue causing cellular growth and multiplication. Besides estrogen and progesterone and other hormones can induce changes in breast tissue such as prolactin, insulin, thyroid hormones and some growth factors.

With the installation of a new menstrual periods when cells are stimulated to enter into a process of programmed cell death, called apoptosis, cells suffer partial destruction under the influence of local enzymes. The percentage of cell destruction, the degree of inflammation and cell efficiency to clean the destroyed elements varies in each woman, from month to month or even from one breast to another.

Fibrocystic breast disease especially affects women aged over 30 years. In fact it is a cumulative process that begins at puberty and continues right up to menopause. Usually the fibrocystic breast disease affects both breasts and is rarely unilateral. Fibrocystic breast disease onset can be in one breast, but eventually with time it reaches the other breast. Fibrocystic breast disease scares any woman beacause breast pain is usually associated in people’s mind with breast cancer. Especially when it is unilateral and located only in one area of the breast, malignant differentiation of a disease of the breast is relatively difficult to achieve even for a specialist.

Symptoms And Diagnosis

As fibrocystic breast disease diagnostic keys without turning them into diagnostic criteria are pain that varies with the menstrual cycle, the feeling of tension, the relative disorganization in breast tissue. Pain is most often localized in the upper outer quadrant to the axillary area of the breast. Mammograms are relatively difficult to interpret breast ultrasound is considered a better choice. In some cases the safest procedure is breast biopsy. It cuts the diagnosis clear.

Fibrocystic Breast Disease

Fibrocystic Breast Disease

Is There A Risk Of Malignant Trasformation?

Well, like so. If the hyperplasia is in normal ranges the risk is reduced. In the case of atypical hyperplasia the risk raises considerably. It involves genetic mutations that accumulate over time in cells that no longer respond normally to the hormonal stimulation processes. Environmental factors, accumulated toxins can affect metabolic processes and tissue repair processes to remove cellular debris from the body.

All women must accept a breast biopsy to reduce the breast cancer risk. The question remains for the moment without a precise answer as  no correlations were found between the intensity of symptoms and risk of cancer.

Any woman, affected or not must perform self-examinations. A careful palpation of the glandular mass, the peripheral area of the lymph nodes should be made between day 7 and 10 of the menstrual cycle. At this time fluid accumulation and cell growth are minimal. Women with premenstrual manifestations and with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer should be a check by a doctor at least twice each year.

Fibrocystic Breast Disease Treatment

Fibrocystic breast disease lines of treatment aim at reducing symptoms and to correct the hormonal changes. Wearing a bra during the night, the administration of paracetamol and other NSAIDs may reduce symptoms. There are studies that have shown that benefits can be obtained after administration of vitamins such as C, E, vitamin B6 or A. A diet rich in essential fatty acids can also be beneficial.

Women with irregular menstrual cycle are more commonly affected, due to long and irregular hormonal stimulation. An endocrinologist will determine the correct treatment with oral contraceptives that will reduce the menstrual cycle by regulating the hormone chaotic bombardment. For patients who are hysterectomised or who follow a hormone replacement therapies should take a break of 5 days “without estrogen” during the menstrual cycle.

Hormonal changes in thyroid dysfunction and diabetes can be also blamed. Short-term treatment with tamoxifen or anti-estrogenic steroids such as androgen, danazol showed nodular mass reduction in fibrocystic breast disease.

Eating leaves us in obscurity. Caffeine was incriminated for increases in the severity of fibrocystic breast disease symptoms. Latest studies have shown a benefits from strict restriction of caffeine.

Fibrocystic breast disease should not be considered a normal thing that affects a large percentage of women. The risk of confusing the disease with the manifestations of breast cancer is very high. Any change of the breast, any change of the breast skin should send you to the doctor. If the fibrocystic breast disease manifestations are severe and frequent medical examination has to be done as often as possible