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Atypical Hyperplasia

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Atypical Hyperplasia  

What is atypical hyperplasia of the breast?

Atypical hyperplasia of the breast is a condition in which breast cells are more abundant than normal, larger than normal, and abnormal in appearance under the microscope.

Although atypical hyperplasia of the breast is not breast cancer, women with atypical hyperplasia of the breast are at increased risk for eventually developing breast cancer.[1, 2] For example, women with atypical hyperplasia of the breast have an approximately 4 times higher (4.24 times) risk of developing breast cancer in the next 15 years, compared to that of women lacking tumors of the breast.[2]

If a woman is diagnosed with atypical hyperplasia of the breast when she is less than 45 years of age, she has a higher risk of eventually developing breast cancer than does a woman who is diagnosed with atypical hyperplasia of the breast when she is at least 56 years of age.[1]

If a woman with atypical hyperplasia has a family history of breast cancer, she should talk to her physician about the following options for screening to assist in detecting breast cancer and therapy to help reduce the risk of breast cancer:[1]

• Magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) as an alternative to mammography

• Treatment with the anti-hormonal drug, tamoxifen

It is important not to obsess with worry. A healthy lifestyle and a positive attitude are excellent steps in maintaining wellness.


1. G. Emery. Corrected: Benign breast disease, history studied. Reuters. 07/20/05. Accessed at www.reuters.com.

2. National Cancer Institute. Benign breast disease indicates relative risk for breast cancer. NCI Cancer Bulletin. 2005; 2(30):4.

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