What is atypical hyperplasia of the breast?

Atypical Hyperplasia of the Breast

Atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH)

Atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH) is an abnormal overgrowth of cells within the milk ducts of the breast. ADH is not cancer. But having ADH increases the risk of breast cancer.

ADH is usually found with a mammogram. It is diagnosed with a biopsy of the breast. If you have ADH, it is important to have follow-up testing to watch for breast cancer. You may need to have a breast exam every 6 months and a mammogram once a year.

What are the symptoms of atypical hyperplasia of the breast?

Usually there are no symptoms of atypical hyperplasia. The changes in breast tissue are too small to be felt.

How is atypical hyperplasia of the breast treated?

Your treatment may depend on the type of hyperplasia you have and your family history of cancer. Atypical hyperplasia may be treated by removing the abnormal cells. These may be removed during the breast biopsy. But in some cases, the doctor may make a small cut in the skin to take out more breast tissue.

Your doctor may have you take medicines to help prevent breast cancer. These may include tamoxifen. If you are past menopause, the medicines may also include aromatase inhibitors.

Your doctor may have you avoid some medicines. These include birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy. They may increase the risk of breast cancer if you have atypical hyperplasia.

You will work with your doctor to reduce your risk of breast cancer. You may have a breast exam every 6 months and a mammogram once a year. Your doctor may suggest that you have an MRI scan of the breast.

How is atypical hyperplasia of the breast diagnosed?

Hyperplasia is usually found with a mammogram. It is diagnosed by taking a tissue sample (biopsy) from the breast to send to a lab. To take the sample, the doctor may use a needle or make a small cut in the skin.

How can you care for yourself when you have atypical hyperplasia of the breast?

Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Have follow-up testing as often as your doctor recommends. Talk to your doctor about ways to reduce your risk of cancer. These may include being active, limiting alcohol, not smoking, eating healthy foods, and staying at a weight that is healthy for you.

What causes atypical hyperplasia of the breast?

The exact cause isn't known. Family health history may play a part.

What is atypical hyperplasia of the breast?

Atypical hyperplasia of the breast means that there are extra cells in the breast that are not normal. These cells may be in the milk ducts (atypical ductal hyperplasia). Or they may be in the lobes (atypical lobular hyperplasia). It is not cancer. But having it increases the risk of breast cancer.

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