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Non-Cancerous Breast Conditions

There are a number of benignBenign:
Not cancerous. This is also referred to as non-malignant.
(non-cancerous) breast conditions. Some of these conditions are associated with an increased breast cancer risk.

If you are diagnosed with a “proliferativeProliferative:
Growing or increasing in number. In the human body, cells proliferate or increase by a process called cell division. The same process of division happens in normal cells and in cancer cells. This is how cancer cells grow and spread.
” breast condition, this means that your breast cells are growing and reproducing more quickly than normal. A proliferative condition is still benign, but it does indicate that you have a moderate increase in risk of developing breast cancer in the future.

The cellsCell:
The basic structural and functional unit of all organisms.
from a proliferative condition can be examined under a microscope. If they are growing faster than usual but look like normal cells, they are called “proliferative lesions without atypiaAtypia:
Abnormal.
.” Examples of this type of condition include usual ductal hyperplasia, complex fibroadenoma, radial scar, and sclerosing adenosis.

If the cells examined under a microscope look unusual or irregular, their condition is called "atypical" or “proliferative lesions with atypia.” A proliferative condition that is also atypical significantly increases your breast cancer risk, by as much as 4-5 times higher than someone who does not have the condition. Examples of this type of condition include atypical ductal hyperplasia and atypical lobular hyperplasia.

If you have had a benign breast condition and have concerns about your risk for breast cancer, speak to a health care provider for more information.

Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation encourages you to learn about your breast health, breast cancer risk, ways to reduce your risk, and the benefits and limitations of screeningScreening:
The search for diseases such as breast cancer in people without symptoms. Mammography is an important tool for breast cancer screening and earlier detection.
for the earlier detection of breast cancer. To inform your decisions, we also encourage you to consider speaking to a health care provider.

Sources:

Breastcancer.org. Certain Breast Changes. Accessed February 23, 2014.

Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. (2010). Earlier Detection and Diagnosis of Breast Cancer: A Report from It’s About Time! A Consensus Conference. Toronto, ON: Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. 

Schnitt SJ. (2003) Benign breast disease and breast cancer risk: morphology and beyond. American Journal of Surgical Pathology, 27(6), 836–41.