Fibrocystic breast changes cause noncancerous growths in the breasts, most often in premenopausal women. The condition is quite common, affecting more than one-half of women at some point in their lives. While the condition was once known as fibrocystic breast disease, the medical profession has stopped calling it that because the changes seen with fibrocystic breasts are not indicative of disease.
Fibrocystic breast changes can be asymptomatic. In women who do feel the effects, signs and symptoms can be constant or cyclical (monthly) in nature. Lumps or areas of thickened tissue develop, which fluctuate in size throughout the menstrual cycle. The benign masses may be free-moving within the breast and can appear and disappear suddenly. Generalized breast tenderness and pain, and a dark brown or green discharge may occur. Symptoms tend to be most severe right before menstruation. Fibrocystic breast changes occur most frequently in women between the ages of 20 and 50. It's rare for postmenopausal women to have fibrocystic breast changes unless they are using hormone therapy.
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