Other benign breast conditions
The breast can be affected by other benign breast conditions.
Radial scars are star-shaped lesions (abnormal area of tissue) made up of gland and supportive tissue fibres in the breast. They are not really scars, but they look like scars when examined under a microscope. Radial scars may slightly increase the risk of breast cancer because they are made up of cells that multiply at a faster than normal rate (proliferative).
- They are often found during mammography or when breast tissue that has been removed is examined under a microscope.
- Most radial scars are very small (less than 10 mm) and cannot be felt in the breast.
- Radial scars that are larger than 1 cm may be called complex sclerosing lesions.
- Radial scars are often removed by surgery because they look like an invasive breast cancer on a mammogram.
- Some radial scars have been found with areas of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).
Fat necrosis occurs when fatty tissue of the breast is damaged or injured and replaced by scar tissue. Fat necrosis does not increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer.
- Fat necrosis is more common in women with very large breasts.
- The most common causes of injury to the breast are surgery or radiation therapy.
- Seat belt injury or blows to the chest may also cause fat necrosis.
- It is usually found during mammography or ultrasound.
- Biopsy may be done to confirm the diagnosis:
- Most fat necrosis areas disappear without treatment.
- Surgery may be offered if:
- the biopsy did not confirm the diagnosis of fat necrosis
- the area grows or begins to cause symptoms
Adenosis is a benign breast condition in which the lobules of the breast become enlarged due to the presence of more than the normal number of milk glands. Adenosis does not increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.
When the enlarged lobules are surrounded by scar-like tissue, it is called sclerosing adenosis. Women with sclerosing adenosis of the breast have a slightly greater risk of developing breast cancer.
- Adenosis is usually found during a mammogram.
- In some cases, adenosis can be felt during a clinical breast exam if there is a group of enlarged lobules close together.
- Core needle biopsy may be done to confirm the diagnosis and rule out the presence of cancer.
- Adenosis is a benign condition and treatment is usually not necessary.
- Women with sclerosing adenosis should speak to their doctor about early detection and screening for breast cancer.
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