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Breast Care Health Information

Fibrocystic Breast Changes

What are some common fibrocystic breast changes?

Generalized breast lumpiness is known under many different names, such as "fibrocystic disease" and "fibroid breasts." Many of these are misnomers since health care providers and researchers now believe that these are just part of the breast changes which many women undergo throughout the various stages of their lives. Many health care providers feel that this term has become a catchphrase for general breast lumpiness.

What do fibrocystic changes feel like?

Fibrocystic lumpiness is also described as "ropy" or "granular" and seems to become more obvious as a woman approaches middle age and the milk producing glandular tissue gives way to softer, fatty tissue. However, women with lumpy breasts may experience many other benign breast conditions.

Lumpiness in the breasts may make actual lumps harder to distinguish. Thus, it is important that women with lumpy breasts perform regular breast self-examinations (BSEs) and have regular physical examinations, including mammography as indicated by the National Cancer Institute or American Cancer Society (ACS) guidelines. Knowing the normal shape and feel of your own breasts is important, especially when performing examinations to detect any unusual breast changes.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force does not recommend BSEs because evidence suggests BSEs do not lower risk for death from breast cancer. The ACS says BSEs are an option for women older than age 20 as a means of familiarizing themselves with their breasts so they can notice changes more easily. Talking with your health care provider about the benefits and limitations can help you decide if you should start performing BSEs.

 



 

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National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC)

The St. John Providence Breast Care Program is fully accredited by the American College of Surgeons. Our Breast Care Program was first accredited in 2009 and was just reaccredited in 2012. We are one of just nine programs in Michigan accredited through the NAPBC.

BECAUSE WE CARE

The St. John Providence Health System Breast Care Program is here for you. If you are a woman under or uninsured and need a mammogram we may be able to help. Call our Cancer Care Coordinators for more information at 1-866-246-4673.

Our position on the importance of mammography

St. John Providence Health System Breast Care Program is strongly opposed to the new recommendations from the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF). Our breast program will continue to follow the guidelines set forth by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and the American Cancer Society (ACS).