Sebaceous Cysts of the breast

Sebaceous cysts are caused by a blockage of the sebaceous glands. Sebaceous glands secrete ‘sebum’, which lubricates the hair and skin.

Holly Holly
I’m noticing a little oil on your skin and hair, Hector.

Talking Moose
Talking Moose
And your fly is open.

Hector Hector
Thanks, I think.

There are sebaceous glands in many areas of the body, but they are most abundant on the face and scalp. A sebaceous breast cyst is a type of epidermal cyst, which forms as a collection of keratin-like material. Normally, a sebaceous breast cysts will have a small opening to the skin, but which may not be easily visible. Sebaceous cysts are most common on the face, back of the ears, and back, but also occur on the breast. Sebaceous breast cysts often appear as small bumps or lumps just beneath the skin. You can think of them as small, closed ‘sacs’, that contain keratin, which is a foul smelling ‘pasty’ buildup of protein.

breast sebaceous cyst

Dr. Halls Dr. Halls
The round white nodule on the bottom-left of the mammogram, looks like it might be inside the breast, but it turned out to be a sebaceous cyst located just below the skin.


Treatment of breast sebaceous cysts

Sebaceous breast cysts do not have to removed unless they are undesirable cosmetically, or, if they are infected. When a sebaceous breast cyst is infected it will look swollen and red, and be quite painful. Sebaceous cysts are usually first treated with antibiotics to bring the inflammation down, and then surgically excised. When removed surgically, it is important to remove all of the cyst wall, or there is a high likelihood of recurrence.

And of course, sebaceous cysts on the breast have nothing to do with breast cancer and do not increase the risk of breast cancer in any way.


  1. Shaikh, MH., Baviskar, PK., Mahske, AN. Sebaceous cyst in the breast: A Rare Presentation. Bombay Hospital Journal. (April 2011)Volume 53 No. 02.
  2. Kalli S, Freer PE, Rafferty EA. Lesions of the skin and superficial tissue at breast MR imaging. Radiographics. (2010) 30 (7): 1891-913.
  3. Iglesias A, Arias M, Santiago P et-al. Benign breast lesions that simulate malignancy: magnetic resonance imaging with radiologic-pathologic correlation. Curr Probl Diagn Radiol. (april 2007)36 (2): 66-82.

Back to miscellaneous breast lesions list.

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