Sclerosing adenosis is a benign (i.e., non-cancerous) condition of the breast in which extra tissue develops within the breast lobules, the small portions of the glands that can produce milk.
In women with sclerosing adenosis, multiple small, firm, tender lumps (called nodules); fibrous tissue; and sometimes small cysts (i.e., sacs filled with fluid or semi-solid material) form in the breast. Many women with sclerosing adenosis experience recurring pain that tends to be linked to the menstrual cycle.
In most cases, sclerosing adenosis is detected during routine mammograms or following breast surgery. Usually, a biopsy (i.e., examination of a sample of tissue under the microscope) is required to confirm the diagnosis, because the condition is otherwise difficult to distinguish from breast cancer.
Clinical research suggests that women with sclerosing adenosis may have 1.5 times to twice as high a risk of developing breast cancer than do other women. If you have been diagnosed with sclerosing adenosis, it is especially important to be aware of any future changes or developments in your breasts. As with all matters of the breasts, vigilant attention is key.