Other Non-cancerous Breast Conditions

These are some of the less common types of benign (non-cancerous) tumors and conditions that can be found in the breast.

Radial scars

Radial scars are also called complex sclerosing lesions. They’re most often found when a breast biopsy is done for some other purpose. Sometimes radial scars distort the normal breast tissue.

Radial scars are not really scars, but they look like scars when seen under a microscope. They do not usually cause symptoms, but they are important for 2 reasons:  

  • If they are large enough, they may look like cancer on a mammogram, or even on a biopsy.       
  • They seem to be linked to a slight increase in a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.

Women who have them may be advised to see their health care provider more often than usual so tests can be done to watch for changes in the radial scars. Many doctors recommend surgery to remove radial scars.

Other breast changes that are not cancer

Other benign lumps or tumors that may be found in the breast include the following. None of these conditions raises breast cancer risk, but they may need to be biopsied or removed to know what they are and be sure they don’t have any cancer cells in them.             

  • Lipoma: a fatty tumor that can appear almost anywhere in the body, including the breast. It is usually not tender.
  • Hamartoma: a smooth, painless lump formed by the overgrowth of mature breast cells, which may be made up of fatty, fibrous, and/or gland tissues       
  • Hemangioma: a rare tumor made of blood vessels
  • Hematoma: a collection of blood within the breast caused by internal bleeding       
  • Adenomyoepithelioma: a very rare tumor formed by certain cells in the milk duct walls  
  • Neurofibroma: a tumor that’s an overgrowth of nerve cells

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

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Last Medical Review: September 10, 2019 Last Revised: September 10, 2019

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