Question

Breast Cancer

Do benign breast conditions increase the risk of breast cancer?

A Answers (4)

  • Women diagnosed with certain benign breast conditions may have an increased risk of breast cancer. Some of these conditions are more closely linked to breast cancer risk than others. Doctors often divide benign breast conditions into 3 general groups, depending on how they affect this risk.

    Non-proliferative lesions: These conditions are not associated with overgrowth of breast tissue. They do not seem to affect breast cancer risk, or if they do, it is to a very small extent. They include:

    - fibrocystic disease (fibrosis and/or cysts)
    - mild hyperplasia
    - adenosis (non-sclerosing)
    - simple fibroadenoma
    - phyllodes tumor (benign)
    - a single papilloma
    - fat necrosis
    - mastitis
    - duct ectasia
    - other benign tumors (lipoma, hamartoma, hemangioma, neurofibroma)

    Proliferative lesions without atypia: These conditions show excessive growth of cells in the ducts or lobules of the breast tissue. They seem to raise a woman's risk of breast cancer slightly (1½ to 2 times normal). They include:

    - usual ductal hyperplasia (without atypia)
    - complex fibroadenoma
    - sclerosing adenosis
    - several papillomas or papillomatosis
    - radial scar

    Proliferative lesions with atypia: In these conditions, there is excessive growth of cells in the ducts or lobules of the breast tissue, and the cells no longer appear normal. They have a stronger effect on breast cancer risk, raising it 4 to 5 times higher than normal. They include:

    - atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH)
    - atypical lobular hyperplasia (ALH)

    Women with a family history of breast cancer and either hyperplasia or atypical hyperplasia have an even higher risk of developing a breast cancer.

    Helpful? 1 person found this helpful.
  • AMary Clay, Nursing, answered on behalf of Swedish

    Most changes women find in their breasts are not cancer. In fact, 90% of these conditions are benign. 

    Fibrocystic breasts, for example, are a normal variant. We believe this raised our risk for breast cancer in the future, but it does not. Some atypical lesions, which are benign, can raise the risk for breast cancer in the future. 

  • AStuart Linder, MD, Plastic/reconstructive Surgery, answered

    The majority of benign breast conditions do not increase risk of breast cancer. In general, nonproliferative lesions which are associated with most common benign breast conditions include fibrocystic breast disease, fibroadenomas, adenosis, and mild hyperplasia, fat necrosis and mastitis.  These do not have any increased risk of breast cancer specifically. Proliferative lesions that do not have atypia can increase a woman's risk of breast cancer up to two times. These proliferative lesions may include sclerosing adenosis, a complex fibroadenoma, or ductal hyperplasia. Proliferative lesions that do have atypia have a significantly increased risk for breast cancer up to five times normal patient. This includes atypical ductal hyperplasia and atypical lobular hyperplasia. In general, benign conditions that are most common include simple fibroadenomas and fibrocystic breast disease and do not have increased risk for breast cancer development. However, those that show with atypia and hyperplasia can increase the risk up to five times, including women who have a strong family diathesis of breast cancer.

  • AAjay Sahajpal, MD, Oncology, answered on behalf of Aurora Health Care

    Certain benign breast conditions may have an increased risk of breast cancer. Some have a stronger correlation or relationship than others.

    Breast conditions are divided into three broad groups which are linked to risk. These include: non-proliferative, proliferative without atypia and proliferative with atypia.

    These are all taken in context of the family history and other risk factors. Women with a family history of breast cancer and either hyperplasia or atypical hyperplasia have an even higher risk of developing a breast cancer.  All breast lesions should be evaluated by a specialist to best determine a treatment plan.

    See below for more detail on the subtypes:

    Non-proliferative lesions: These conditions are not associated with overgrowth of breast tissue. They do not seem to affect breast cancer risk, or if they do, it is to a very small extent. They include:

    1. fibrocystic disease (fibrosis and/or cysts)
    2. mild hyperplasia
    3. adenosis (non-sclerosing)
    4. simple fibroadenoma
    5. phyllodes tumor (may be benign, however should be thoroughly evaluated)
    6. a single papilloma
    7. fat necrosis
    8. mastitis
    9. duct ectasia
    10. other benign tumors (lipoma, hamartoma, hemangioma, neurofibroma)

    Proliferative lesions without atypia: These conditions show excessive growth of cells in the ducts or lobules of the breast tissue. They seem to raise a woman's risk of breast cancer slightly (1.5 to 2 times normal). They include:

    1. ductal hyperplasia
    2. complex fibroadenoma
    3. sclerosing adenosis
    4. several papillomas or papillomatosis
    5. radial scar

    Proliferative lesions with atypia: In these conditions, there is excessive growth of cells in the ducts or lobules of the breast tissue, and the cells no longer appear normal. They have a stronger effect on breast cancer risk, raising it 4 to 5 times higher than normal. They include:

    1. atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH)
    2. atypical lobular hyperplasia (ALH)

     

    Helpful? 1 person found this helpful.
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