Benign non-cancerous breast conditions are unusual growths or other changes in the breast tissue that are not cancer. Having a benign breast condition can be scary at first because the symptoms often mimic those caused by breast cancer. You or your doctor might be able to feel a lump or see nipple discharge, or your mammogram might pick up something that requires further testing. Any abnormal change in the breast can be a sign of cancer and needs to be checked out.
Young women with family history of breast cancer and their risk factors for benign breast disease.
Some benign breast disease may signal increased risk of breast cancer
Women with benign breast disease have an increased risk for breast cancer, according to a Mayo Clinic Cancer Center study. In addition, certain types of breast disease may predict the near-term development of breast cancer. Atypical lesions, a strong family history of disease and earlier age at benign breast disease diagnosis were factors associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, she said. It remains unclear which of the benign entities are actual precursors for breast cancer and which reflect a background of increased risk involving all breast tissue in a patient, she added.
Studies have shown that your risk for breast cancer is due to a combination of factors. The main factors that influence your risk include being a woman and getting older. Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older. Some women will get breast cancer even without any other risk factors that they know of. Having a risk factor does not mean you will get the disease, and not all risk factors have the same effect.
Adding to research linking alcohol to breast cancer risk, a new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis shows that adolescent girls with a family history of breast disease — either cancer or the benign lesions that can become cancer — have a higher risk of developing benign breast disease as young women than other girls. And unlike girls without a family history, this already-elevated risk rises with increasing alcohol consumption. This study is one of the first to look at alcohol consumption in adolescents and the risk of breast disease.