- Non-cancerous Breast Conditions
- What is normal breast tissue and what does it do?
- Finding benign breast conditions
- American Cancer Society recommendations for early breast cancer detection
- Diagnosing benign breast changes
- Imaging tests for breast disease
- Nipple discharge exam (nipple smear)
- Types of non-cancerous breast conditions
- Fibrosis and simple cysts
- Lobular carcinoma in situ
- Phyllodes tumors
- Intraductal papillomas
- Granular cell tumors
- Fat necrosis and oil cysts
- Duct ectasia
- Other benign breast conditions
- How benign breast conditions affect breast cancer risk
- For women at increased breast cancer risk
- Additional resources
Duct ectasia, also known as mammary duct ectasia, is common in women over 50. It occurs when a breast duct widens and its walls thicken, which can cause it to become blocked and lead to fluid build-up.
Often, this condition causes no symptoms and is found on biopsy. Less often, duct ectasia may cause a sticky green or black discharge, which is often thick. The nipple and nearby breast tissue may be tender and red. The nipple may be pulled inward. Sometimes scar tissue around the abnormal duct causes a hard lump that may be confused with cancer.
This condition sometimes improves without treatment, or with warm compresses and antibiotics. If the symptoms do not go away, the abnormal duct can be removed through an incision (cut) at the edge of the areola (the darker colored area around the nipple).
Duct ectasia does not increase breast cancer risk.
Last Medical Review: 08/24/2012
Last Revised: 08/24/2012