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Fibrocystic Breasts, Caffeine and Estrogen

Q: I recently had a stereotactic biopsy done on my right breast after my routine annual mammogram found a spot. It was diagnosed as being fibrocystic, not malignant. I was told by my doctor to come back in 6 months for another mammogram, but I was not told whether or not I needed to do anything beyond that. I had read that fibrocystic breasts can be caused by consuming caffeine, but my doctor didn't tell me to stop. Should I? Can fibrocystic masses turn into cancer?

I have been taking estrogen since menopause (approximately 15 years). First I took Premarin, then Ogen, and finally Cenestin for the past several years. I stopped taking it when I was told that a spot was found, because I was worried about cancer, but my doctor didn't tell me whether or not I should resume taking estrogen. I'm taking it for my high cholesterol and also for osteoporosis protection. Will I be in greater danger from breast cancer now?

I would really appreciate hearing from you. I read your column in First for Women magazine all the time.


Dr. Donnica:
There is nothing you can do about fibrocystic breasts. They are common, they are "normal," and THEY ARE NOT A DISEASE!!!† Women with fibrocystic breasts do not have a higher incidence of breast cancer than women without fibrocystic breasts.† You should minimize caffeine for overall health reasons, but cutting it out will not get rid of fibrocystic breasts.

Regarding whether or not to resume your hormone replacement therapy, that is an issue you must discuss with your physician.† You should know, however, that there are other medicines that can reduce cholesterol and that can reduce your risk of osteoporosis.† In the meantime, have you had a bone density test?

Best regards,
Donnica Moore MD
President, drdonnica.com

Created: 1/20/2003  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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