Non-Cancerous Breast Conditions

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If you have a breast condition that increases breast cancer risk

Some non-cancerous breast conditions may increase your risk for breast cancer. But it’s important to understand what this really means.

According to one study of women living in the Midwest (a mainly white population), here’s an example of what increased risk looks like:

  • About 5 of 100 women who do not have any benign breast conditions would be expected to develop breast cancer within the next 15 years.
  • Among women with a benign condition that increases risk 1½ to 2 times, about 7 to 10 out of 100 might be expected to develop breast cancer in the next 15 years.
  • Among women with atypical hyperplasia (ductal or lobular), whose risk is 3½ to 5 times normal, about 18 to 25 women out of 100 would be expected to develop breast cancer within 15 years.

It’s also very important to keep in mind that many other factors can affect your risk. Your age, race/ethnicity, body weight, family history, menstrual and pregnancy history, and other factors all affect your breast cancer risk. (For more information, see “What are the risk factors for breast cancer?” in Breast Cancer.) These all must be taken into account when trying to determine your actual risk of breast cancer.

If you are at higher than average risk for breast cancer, talk with your doctor about whether you should have breast MRI along with your screening mammograms and whether you should start screening at an earlier age. You may also want to discuss steps you could take that might lower your risk of breast cancer.

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