Fibrocystic breast tissue

Medical Specialties: Family practice, Internal medicine, Obstetrics/gynecology

Clinical Definition

Fibrocystic breast tissue is a common condition in which breasts have atypically dense tissue, with benign changes such as fibrosis and cysts. Lumps, swelling and tenderness are typical symptoms. Dense breast tissue can make mammograms more difficult to read. Treatment is generally not needed if symptoms are not bothersome. Women with dense breasts are at higher risk of breast cancer. 

In Our Own Words

Fibrocystic breast tissue is a common benign condition, but it makes for denser breasts and mammograms that are harder to read, and raises breast cancer risk. Closer monitoring may be advised. Fibrocystic breast tissue has lumps and bumps in it, which are the result of fibrosis (scar-like or fibrous tissue), and cysts (fluid-filled sacs).


Changes are nonproliferative, meaning they aren’t associated with overgrowth of breast tissue. Symptoms such as tenderness or lumps lead to the diagnosis. If the tissue is very painful, pain relievers or cyst drainage may help. Avoiding saturated fat, and possibly caffeinated products, may help ease symptoms. 

Relevant Conditions
  • Breast cancer
Side Effects
  • Tenderness
  • Pain
  • Lumps and bumps
Share this article
  • The Cleveland Clinic. "Understanding Benign Breast Disease." Health Info. 2013. Accessed Oct. 2013.
  • American Cancer Society. "Breast cancer risk factors you cannot change." Breast Cancer. Sept. 2013. Accessed Oct. 2013.
  • University of Maryland Medical Center. "Fibrocystic breast disease." Medical Encyclopedia. May 2013. Accessed Oct. 2013.
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