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Breast Pathology

When your breast was biopsied, the samples taken were studied under the microscope by a specialized doctor with many years of training called a pathologist. The pathologist sends your doctor a report that gives a diagnosis for each sample taken. Information in this report will be used to help manage your care. The information here is meant to help you understand medical language you might find in the pathology report from a breast biopsy, such as a needle biopsy or an excision biopsy.

Understanding Your Pathology Report

Benign Breast Conditions

Benign (non-cancer) breast changes can include adenosis, sclerosing adenosis, apocrine metaplasia, cysts, columnar cell change, columnar cell hyperplasia, collagenous spherulosis, duct ectasia, columnar alteration with prominent apical snouts and secretions (CAPSS), papillomatosis, or fibrocystic changes.

Atypical Hyperplasia

Hyperplasia is a term used when there is an abnormal pattern of growth of cells within the ducts and/or lobules of the breast that is not cancer. Some growths look more abnormal, and may be called atypical hyperplasia.

Lobular Carcinoma In Situ (LCIS)

Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) is a type of in-situ carcinoma of the breast, but it is not considered a pre-cancer.

Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS)

This term is used for the earliest stage of breast cancer, when it is confined to the layer of cells where it began.

Breast Cancer

Carcinoma is a term used to describe a cancer that starts in the lining layer (epithelial cells) of organs like the breast. Nearly all breast cancers are carcinomas. Most are the type of carcinoma that starts in glandular tissue called adenocarcinoma.