Non-Cancerous Breast Conditions

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Summary of breast conditions that affect breast cancer risk

Benign breast conditions are classified into 3 general groups, based on:

  • Whether the cells are multiplying (proliferative) and
  • Whether there are abnormal cells or patterns of cells (atypia)

The groups are summarized here.

Non-proliferative lesions. These conditions are not linked with the overgrowth of breast tissue. They do not seem to affect breast cancer risk, or if they do, the effect is very small.

  • Fibrosis
  • Cysts
  • Mild hyperplasia of the usual type
  • Adenosis (non-sclerosing)
  • Phyllodes tumor (benign)
  • A single (solitary) papilloma
  • Granular cell tumor
  • Fat necrosis
  • Mastitis
  • Duct ectasia
  • Benign lumps or tumors (lipoma, hamartoma, hemangioma, hematoma, neurofibroma, adenomyoepthelioma)

Proliferative lesions without atypia. These conditions are linked with the growth of cells in the ducts or lobules of the breast tissue. They seem to raise a woman’s risk of breast cancer slightly (1½ to 2 times the usual risk).

  • Moderate or florid ductal hyperplasia of the usual type (without atypia)
  • Fibroadenoma
  • Sclerosing adenosis
  • Multiple papillomas or papillomatosis
  • Radial scars

Proliferative lesions with atypia. These conditions are linked with the excess growth of cells in the ducts or lobules of the breast tissue, and the cells no longer look normal. They can raise breast cancer risk about 3½ to 5 times higher than normal.

  • Atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH)
  • Atypical lobular hyperplasia (ALH)
  • Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) (LCIS raises breast cancer risk 7 to 11 times that of normal.)

Last Medical Review: 03/16/2015
Last Revised: 04/21/2016