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Breast and ovarian cysts. Done ultrasound and mammogram. Recommended biopsy. Are there other indicators to look for besides regular symptoms?

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I am a 38 year old female that has had numerous cysts in my breasts and ovaries. Due to my age, my doctor recommended I have an ultrasound done on my breasts instead of a mammogram. When the results of the ultrasound came back, they then referred me for a mammogram. Once the mammogram was completed, the doctor came in and informed me that the lump on my right breast would be reviewed in 6 months but that she recommends an ultrasound biopsy on my left breast be done. How she described the mass to me is almost like an asteroid looking object (round with a strange edge). She also said that there were lines within the mass. She mentioned that she wasn't sure if the mass bled into itself (no clue what that is). She also told me that she is recommending that I have the biopsy done because she would refer that to anyone that has a mass and not to worry that much. Obviously I am worried until I get the biopsy done. My question is two part: Are there any other indicators that I should look for besides the noted breast cancer symptoms (of which I have none); and what are the chances something like this being cancerous? Breast cancer does not run in my family, but my mother has had the same thing as I have without her doctor having concern. I do understand that I need to wait for the biopsy but I have not been able to sleep or eat in the past two days because of the stress. Please, please help. Thank you
Posted Wed, 23 May 2012 in Cancer
Answered by Dr. Indranil Ghosh 5 hours later

Thanks for writing in.

I understand your concern. But for a woman of your age, breast cysts per se do not raise concern. However, if certain features are seen on ultrasound or mammogram then one needs to worry. These are- solid components within cyst, irregular borders, small foci of calicifications, bleeding in the cyst, etc. Probably your physician has seen some of these features as she has explained to you.

In this scenario biopsy is indicated to rule out cancer though the probability is low. The most common symptom of breast cancer is only the lump, there may not be any other feature. Still, one should not ignore it. Even if no family history is there, it can still occur.

Same goes for ovarian cyst- if those are small, truly cystic (no solid component) and stable over time, then nothing needs to be done.

Hope I have answered your query. I will be available for further follow-up queries.
Best wishes.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Breast and ovarian cysts. Done ultrasound and mammogram. Recommended biopsy. Are there other indicators to look for besides regular symptoms? 14 hours later

Thank you for replying to my question. You had noted some of the components defined in cancerous cysts. Can these components also be found in non-cancerous masses? Also I was confused on the biopsy to rule out cancer. Are you saying the probability of it being cancer is low, or the probability of it being cancerous is high? Thank you.

Answered by Dr. Indranil Ghosh 9 hours later
Yes, some of these can be found in non-cancerous masses also. But, having these raises the probability of cancer.

When I say rule out cancer I mean that the absolute chances are low but definitely it needs to be excluded. Though I do not know the detailed report, going by the features mentioned chances may be around 10%.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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