- Non-cancerous Breast Conditions
- What is normal breast tissue and what does it do?
- Finding non-cancerous breast conditions
- Breast cancer can be found early
- Diagnosing non-cancerous breast changes
- 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 non-cancerous breast conditions
- How non-cancerous breast conditions affect breast cancer risk
- For women at increased breast cancer risk
- To learn more
Duct ectasia (ek-tay-zhuh), 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 done for another problem. 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. If it causes a lump, a biopsy (removing a sample of tissue to examine under the microscope) may be needed.
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 with surgery.
Link to cancer risk
Duct ectasia does not increase breast cancer risk.
Last Medical Review: 01/14/2014
Last Revised: 01/14/2014