- 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
What is normal breast tissue and what does it do?
The breasts make milk for breastfeeding. It has 2 main types of tissues: glandular tissues and supporting (stromal) tissues.
The glandular part of the breast includes the lobules and ducts (shown in the picture below). In women who are breastfeeding, the cells of the lobules make milk. The milk then moves through the ducts–—tiny tubes that carry milk to the nipple. Each breast has several ducts that lead out to the nipple.
The support tissue of the breast includes fatty tissue and fibrous connective tissue that give the breast its size and shape.
Any of these parts of the breast can undergo changes that cause symptoms. These breast changes can be either benign (non-cancerous) breast conditions or breast cancers.
Here we will review some of the signs and symptoms of benign breast conditions and how they are found and diagnosed. We will also review the more common benign breast conditions, such as fibrocystic changes, benign breast tumors, and breast inflammation.
If you would like to know more about breast cancer, please call us or visit our Web site to get our document called Breast Cancer.
Last Medical Review: 08/24/2012
Last Revised: 08/24/2012