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Mikki630's Breast Cancer Chronicle
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Sometimes CYSTS HAPPEN

Many ladies get breast cysts--some do, some don't.

 

Simple Cysts:

Some are called "simple cysts"--basically nice smooth rounded lumps which are filled with clear fluid (of a variety of colors, I might add). They show up on mammograms when they reach a certain size or when the fluid reaches a certain thickness. They show up on ultrasounds as black holes (sizes can vary as well--tiny gravel-size or up to humunga round black rocks).

 

Complex Cysts:

Some are called "complex cysts" which indicate that they are no longer "simple" because they may have some irregular edges, they may show thickened walls or "septations"--which are basically little rooms they try to create within one cyst.

 

All cysts can have debris--things floating around in the fluid such as cast-off cells. The way they can tell if there is debris in there is the ultrasound shows little specks or flakes within the cyst--these show up as light to medium gray in the black hole.

 

Just to let you know-when a cyst has debris in it, it does not have to be a bad thing. When the fluid within a cyst is thin (like water) it shows no debris and can definitely be ascertained as a cyst on ultrasound.

 

When a cyst's fluid is thicker (which happens a LOT) it shows debris on ultrasound. Some of these can even appear as SOLID on the ultrasound (they are so thick that the soundwaves show it as solid, rather than thick fluid).

 

Cyst fluid can be almost any color including clear, clear yellow, cream colored, beige, green, or like motor oil! It varies from thin like water to thick like snot--trust me, they can look gross LOL. What I guess I am trying to do is alleviate some of your fear with education.

 

Cysts are benign in nature for the most part (There is a rare cystosarcoma phylloides--a tumor w/ cystic & solid properties) and will NOT predispose you to breast cancer. With cysts, there is only a 1% incidence of cancer called intracystic papillary carcinoma which usually does not spread past the lining of the cyst.

 

You can actually leave them alone--they are usually only aspirated when they are bothersome to you (if less than 8mm most docs will just watch, as it can cause you more difficulty to aspirate than to leave it alone. If it gets bigger, they can aspirate at THAT time).