Non-Cancerous Breast Conditions

There are several non-cancerous breast conditions that are routinely found in women. These non-cancerous -or benign- conditions can look and feel like cancer; however, they are usually harmless. Nevertheless, if you do discover a change in your breast, it is still wise to consult a physician to rule out breast cancer. The following are examples of typical benign conditions:

  • Cysts – They are often seen in women in their 30s and 40s, but can be found at any age. They are oval fluid-filled sacs that often disappear after menopause.
  • Fibroadenomas – These lumps are often seen in women in their 20s and 30s, but can be found at any age. They are made up of connective and glandular tissue in the breast. They are usually round and form just under the skin.
  • Adenosis – When the breast lobules become enlarged, this inflammation can form into an adenosis.
  • Fat Necroses – These lumps can result from injury to the breast. They can also occur after radiation therapy or surgery.  These fat cells are often made up of scar tissue.
  • Oil Cysts – These cysts occur when fat cells die and discharge their contents instead of forming scar tissue. This results in greasy fluid that collects in a sac-like formation in the breast.
  • Mastitis – This condition happens when white blood cells in the body try to fight off infection resulting in inflammation. Mastitis is often caused by an infection in the breast.
  • Duct Ectasia – This occurs when breast ducts widen. When this happens, fluid can accumulate and become blocked resulting in ectasia. This condition usually affects women in their 40s and 50s.
  • Hyperplasia – This is an excessive build-up cells that line the ducts and lobules. When located in the duct, it is known as ductal hyperplasia.   When present in the lobule, it is referred to as lobular hyperplasia.
  • Phyllodes Tumors – These tumors are similar to fibroadenomas and are usually felt as lumps. These tumors have excess connective tissue and glandular tissue, but are usually benign. In rare cases, they can be malignant. They are usually seen in women in their 30s and 40s.