How can you tell the difference between a breast cyst and cancer? Cancerous breast lumps and breast cysts have some characteristic tactile differences, but they may feel similar enough the only way to really tell one from the other is a diagnostic test like a mammogram or ultrasound. Breast cysts are fluid-filled round or oval lumps in the breast.
How can doctors tell the difference between a cyst and cancer? The best test to determine whether a cyst or tumor is benign or malignant is a biopsy. This procedure involves removing a sample of the affected tissue — or, in some cases, the entire suspicious area — and studying it under a microscope.
Can a breast cyst be mistaken for cancer? Cysts are rarely cancerous (malignant) and may be caused by blocked breast glands. Cysts can feel either soft or hard. When close to the surface of the breast, cysts can feel like a large blister, smooth on the outside, but fluid-filled on the inside.
How do you tell if a breast lump is a cyst?
- A smooth, easily movable round or oval lump that may have smooth edges — which typically, though not always, indicates it’s benign.
- Nipple discharge that may be clear, yellow, straw colored or dark brown.
- Breast pain or tenderness in the area of the breast lump.