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  • Hyperplasia and Other Benign Breast Conditions


    Benign Breast Conditions
    Fact Sheet

    Benign breast conditions (also known as benign breast diseases) are non-cancerous breast disorders. Some of these conditions increase the risk of breast cancer and others do not.

    To assess breast cancer risk, benign breast conditions are classified as:

    • Proliferative (those with quickly growing cells)
    • Non-proliferative (those without quickly growing cells)

    Proliferative breast conditions

    Proliferative breast conditions are not cancerous, but they do increase the risk of breast cancer [140-143].

    The most common type of proliferative breast condition is hyperplasia. There are two types of hyperplasia: usual hyperplasia (more common) and atypical hyperplasia (less common).

    Usual hyperplasia

    In usual hyperplasia (the most common form of hyperplasia) the proliferating (dividing) cells look normal under a microscope.

    Women with usual hyperplasia have about two times the breast cancer risk of women without a proliferative breast condition [140-143].

    Atypical hyperplasia

    In atypical hyperplasia, the proliferating (dividing) cells look abnormal. Atypical hyperplasia is less common than usual hyperplasia.

    Women with atypical hyperplasia have about four to five times the breast cancer risk of women without a proliferative condition [140-143]. One study found women diagnosed with atypical hyperplasia had about a 29 percent chance of developing breast cancer within 25 years [144]. 

    For a summary of research studies on hyperplasia and breast cancer, visit the Breast Cancer Research Studies section.

    Brest cancer screening for women with atypical hyperplasia

    For women with atypical hyperplasia (but not usual hyperplasia), there are special breast cancer screening recommendations. These women should [116]:

    • Have a mammogram every year
    • Have a clinical breast exam every six to 12 months
    • Talk with their health care providers about screening with breast MRI

    This medical care helps ensure that if breast cancer does develop, it is caught early when the chances of survival are highest.

    Learn more about breast cancer screening for women at higher risk.

    Risk reduction for women with atypical hyperplasia

    Women with atypical hyperplasia (but not usual hyperplasia) should consider taking a risk-lowering drug (tamoxifen or raloxifene) to lower the risk of developing breast cancer [145].

    Learn more about risk-lowering drugs.

    Non-proliferative breast conditions

    Non-proliferative benign breast conditions (such as cysts) do not increase the risk of breast cancer.

    Learn more about benign breast conditions.

    Updated 09/23/15



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