Updated 28 May 2015

Fibrocystic breast disease

In simple fibrocystic disease, there is an increase of fibrous tissue.



  • Cystic formation and fibrosis
  • Epithelial hyperplasia
  • Sclerosing adenosis


In simple fibrocystic disease, there is an increase of fibrous tissue associated with dilatation of breast ducts and formation of cysts.

Cysts are virtually always benign. There are characteristics about a cyst that would cause anxiety: if the cyst looks as though it has a solid mass in it, if there is blood in the fluid aspirated or if there is a lump palpable in the breast after the fluid has been withdrawn.

Sclerosing adenosis is characterised by intralobular fibrosis and proliferation of small ductules. It is a benign condition.


Cysts should be aspirated (by fine needle aspiration) and the fluid examined by a cytologist, to exclude malignancy (cancer). Alternatively, they should be surgically removed, followed by histological examination.

Reviewed by Dr Jenny Edge, General Surgeon, BSc, MB BS, FRCS (Edin), M Med (Stell), July 2003

Read more:
What is a biopsy?
How do we decide whether or not a lump is cancerous?


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