Breast cysts and fibrocystic breast disease are hot topics. Fibrocystic breasts in particular have been very controversial. There is a correlation between breast density and breast cancer risk.  Fibrocystic breast are very dense breasts.  Is this a factor we can change?


There is a lot of concern among women who have breast cysts. Namely they worry that it is a precursor to breast cancer.

Breast cysts are not breast cancer. Many women have them. Breast cysts are filled with fluid and they can change with the menstrual cycle. Sometimes it is hard to tell a harmful lump from a breast cyst. Your doctor may want to drain the fluid from the cyst just to be sure that it is not cancer.

A study “Benign Breast Disease and the Risk of Breast Cancer,” appeared in the July 21, 2005, New England Journal of Medicine. It said that there is only a small correlation between breast lumps and the development of breast cancer.

This 15-year study found that women with recurrent breast cysts had three different possible diagnosis from the fluid samples taken from their breast cysts. One was called atypical hyperplasia, meaning that the cells have an abnormal shape (atypia) and there was too many of them (hyperplasia).

The atypical hyperplasia did indicate a higher risk for breast cancer. However, only four percent of women with this condition had atypical hyperplasia. The types which were more prevalent, did not indicate a significantly higher risk for breast cancer.

Read below for natural ways to clear non-cancerous breast cysts.

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Fibrocystic breasts are breasts that have dense fibrous tissue. It is believed that fibrous breasts have this quality due to hormonal effects. For example, many women feel changes in their breasts around the time of their menses. Breasts at this time may be more sensitive or tender.

Some women have fibrous breasts but no tenderness in the tissue. It is more common to have fibrocystic breasts that are sore when pressed or massaged. This prevents a lot of women from doing breast self-exams. We hear some variation of, “It all feels like lumps and it hurts so I don’t even bother to do it.” (Don’t feel guilty about not doing self-exams, click here to learn why!)

Please know that fibrocystic breast disease is actually a misnomer. There is no such thing. It is not a disease. Probably 60 percent of women in this country have fibrocystic breasts. From an eastern perspective breast tenderness and soreness indicate a hormonal imbalance, which can be changed. With hormonal symptoms, it is better to correct the imbalance rather than mask the symptom. There are many ways to effect this change in breast tissue, as we will see below.

Breast cysts and fibrocystic breast condition can be changed. That is a radical idea. Try it yourself.


Here at the Breast Health Project, breast cysts are seen as symptoms that we want to change. We have seen in clinical practice that most women are able to change the condition of their breasts using simple massage techniques. We have seen hundreds of women change their breast soreness and cysts. Breasts can actually become less fibrous and less painful!!! Yippee!!!

Lymphatic Breast Massage will effect change in the breast. It is free, easy to do and feels great. Go to the lymphatic breast massage page.

In holistic medicine and Chinese medicine theory, pain is caused by energy stagnation. People are always amazed at how easy it is to get the energy moving again. Movement in our breasts can effect a surprising amount of change. Go to the energy movement page and try it.

I also realize some people are looking here for breast enhancement issues.  They would do better to go to this site.

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ying and yang symbol Vitex is something that’s been well proven to be effective. It is an herb that has been used for many years. I don’t know of any side effects (except the taste). You have to use it for about at least three months to effect change, but it is well proven.

For more info on this, check the links below. Be warned, the tea is VERY BITTER and very few women will want to drink it regularly for three months. Pills are easy but there is always a question of how bioavailable they are. Tinctures are good and simple. See if you can find one based in glycerin rather than alcohol. Alcohol, over time can be heating to the system.

To see the studies:

To read about vitex, try this article:
ying and yang symbol

A product that has become very popular in naturopathic circles is DIM, which is a by-product of Indole 3 carbinol(I3C). This comes from cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and brussel sprouts - the things we know we’re supposed to eat but usually don’t. There is some controversy about whether DIM or Indole 3 Carbinol is better.

Two articles at give more information:

Learn more information about Diindolylmethane from the researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. Find out about the benefits of DIM.

and one from metagenics arguing for I3C:

[Note: the following link is a PDF document]

ying and yang symbol Iodine is another interesting supplement to reduce hormonal breast symptoms. This idea is still fairly controversial. The logic behind it relates to iodine use in Asian countries and lower incidence of breast cancer. Seaweed is a great food source but remember that thyroid issues are tricky. If you know you have a thyroid issue, please work with your healthcare provider.

There is a whole book on the subject. Breast Cancer and Iodine: How to Prevent and How to Survive Breast Cancer by Dr. David Derry M.D., Ph.D.


We have added some pages on this important topic...

This is the video page

and this is the thyroid, iodine breast 101 page.

Studies on the issue are as follows:

Is iodine a gatekeeper of the integrity of the mammary gland? J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia. 2005 Apr;10(2):189-96. Aceves C, Anguiano B, Delgado G.

This article is a review of the literature around iodine. It sites it as a antioxidant and an antiproliferative agent (controls growth). It refers to research showing that iodine slowing and stopping cancer growth in the cell cultures. It also refers to the asian countries with lower rates of breast cancer and benign breast diseases. With the above information, if there is something that blocks iodine in the breast, this could lead to a deficiency of iodine.

Often iodine literature refers to selenium deficiency as well. These will become more clear over time as more research is done. Dr. Derry is the expert and you can contact him if you want to learn more. Here is a link to an article he wrote that explains his theory:

Even among the naturopathic community, the jury is still out about this evidence. Discuss this one with your healthcare provider.

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There is a relationship between some foods and breast cysts. Let’s take a look at the top culprits.

Dairy: Due to the high concentration of saturated fat (and perchlorate) dairy can effect hormonal changes. Cows are fed hormones to increase milk production and these hormones seem to have an effect on our breasts.

This quote comes from Physicians for Social Responsibility website (, “Synthetic hormones such as recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) are commonly used in dairy cows to increase the production of milk. Because the cows are producing quantities of milk nature never intended, the end result is mastitis, or inflammation of the mammary glands. The treatment requires the use of antibiotics, and traces of these and hormones have been found in samples of milk and other dairy products. Pesticides and other drugs are also frequent contaminants of dairy products.”

See the site below for more info:

Meat Products: Same hormonal issues. Animals are fed hormones to make them grow faster. They are also fed animal parts from other aminals that have died.   Cows are vegetarians, this practice is gross and unneccesary.  Additionally, when an animal eats something toxic, like pesticides in feed, the residue becomes concentrated in the fat of the animal. When you eat it, you get a concentrated dose.

If you eat meat, make smart and healthy choices. Eat hormone and antibiotic free, free range, grass fed animals. The best argument for a vegetarian diet is a book called The China Study by Dr T Colin Campbell.

Read an interview with the author here:

Fat: Not only the amount of fat, but the type of fat is important. Trans fats or hydrogenated fats also seem to affect hormonal function. This evidence is not yet well established, but there are so many well-documented ill effects of these “fake fats” that we recommend avoiding them.

Caffeine: There is anecdotal evidence around coffee and breast cysts. There is no evidence that this leads to breast cancer. Some women seem to be affected more than others. The reasons for this are not clear. If you have breast cysts, try going without the caffeine and see if it helps. If being caffeine free makes you totally void of personality, there is anecdotal evidence that supplementing with Evening Primrose Oil and B vitamins might be helpful.

Studies about food are not conclusive. It is a difficult area to research and fibrocystic breast condition is not a priority in breast cancer research. Try these suggestions for yourself and see what works for you.

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