Benign Breast Disease May Not Be So Harmless
Getting the news a biopsy has found that a suspicious lesion in the breast isn’t cancer is cause to celebration. A diagnosis of the benign condition known as atypical hyperplasia isn’t, however, a signal to let the guard down entirely. As more studies find a link between this relatively harmless condition and the eventual development of breast cancer, some researchers are urging a changed approach to managing this benign disease.
Some studies have indicated there is a cumulative risk of future breast cancer of about 29 percent in women diagnosed with atypical hyperplasia. That statistic spans a 25-year follow-up, which means development of cancer is not necessarily imminent or immediate. Even so, some researchers are pushing for greater management and oversight in those diagnosed with this high-risk lesion. The recommendation is for more in-depth screening of these women using not only mammograms, but also MRIs. Some also suggest that preemptive treatment with hormone therapy may also be useful for stopping the potential formation of cancer.
An estimated 200,000 American women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. This disease, if caught early, can often be treated with a high success rate. The key to increasing survival odds lies in aggressive screening so that cancers can be found in their earliest stages. Women who are at risk for breast cancer are urged to discuss screening with their healthcare providers. Typically, annual checkups and self-examinations should be part of the routine for women under the age of 40. Mammograms are generally introduced on an annual basis starting around the age of 40.
Women who have been diagnosed with atypical hyperplasia should know that this condition does increase their risk for developing breast cancer. To find out more about the condition and recommended monitoring, consult with a healthcare provider.