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October is the Breast Cancer Awareness Month; it is a worldwide annual campaign which involves thousands of organisations that emphasize the importance of breast awareness education and raises funds for breast cancer research. In this article, we will be writing about the breast conditions that are not cancer.
Your breasts will undergo normal, healthy changes throughout your life, but how will you know whether it's benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous)? These breast conditions could be a lump, swelling or nipple discharge which are often similar to the symptoms of breast cancer, so it can be hard to tell the difference.
According to the American Cancer Society, these are the list of benign breast conditions.
1. Lobular Carcinoma In Situ (LCIS)
It is a proliferative breast disease which occurs when there is an overgrowth of cells that line the ducts or the milk glands (lobules) inside the breast. It usually doesn't cause a lump but, it's often diagnosed when a woman suffers from another breast problem.
Women with LCIS have about 7 to 12 times higher risk of developing invasive cancer in either breast. So, self-examination and follow-ups with the doctor are important.
It is an inflammation in the breast usually caused by an infection, which especially occurs in breastfeeding women. The infection causes the breasts to turn red and warm to touch. Mastitis usually affects only one breast and can be diagnosed based on a woman's symptoms and the results of a breast examination. It is treated with antibiotics and doesn't increase the risk of breast cancer.
3. Fibrosis And Simple Cysts
Most often many breast lumps turn out to be fibrosis and simple cysts which are non-cancerous. It is most common in women of child-bearing age, but they can affect women of any age. Fibrosis and simple cysts may be found in different parts of one breast or in both breasts as well. The symptoms are tenderness, swelling or pain in the breast and the condition is diagnosed with the help of a biopsy.
Fibroadenomas are common non-cancerous breast tumours that are made up of both stromal (connective) tissue and glandular tissue. It's most common in women who are in their 20s and 30s. Fibroadenomas often feel like marbles in the breast and some are too small to be felt. You can move them under the skin and they are kind of rubbery. These tumours can shrink on their own without any treatment, however biopsy is needed to detect whether the tumour is actually a fibroadenoma.
5. Hyperplasia Of The Breast (Ductal Or Lobular)
Hyperplasia of the breast occurs when the cells that line the milk glands overgrow inside the breast. Ductal and lobular hyperplasia occur at the same time. They don't usually cause lumps and a surgery may be done to take out the abnormal breast tissue. Hyperplasia is of two types - mild hyperplasia and moderate hyperplasia. The former one doesn't increase the risk of breast cancer and the latter one increases the breast cancer risk by 1 ½ to 2 times.
6. Fat Necrosis And Oil Cysts
It is a benign breast condition that occurs when an area of the fatty breast tissue is damaged usually as a result of an injury to the breast. It is more common in women with large breasts and you can feel the lump which doesn't hurt. The skin around the lump shows visible signs of bruised, red or thicker skin. Fat necrosis and oil cysts need not be treated and don't increase a woman's risk of breast cancer.
It is a non-cancerous breast condition in which the milk-producing glands are enlarged and there are more glands present than usual. It's most common in women who have fibrosis or cysts in their breasts. Women with adenosis don't require treatment and it doesn't increase the risk of breast cancer.
8. Other Non-Cancerous Breast Conditions
Some of the less common types of benign breast conditions are radial scars, lipoma, hamartoma, hemangioma, hematoma, neurofibroma, and adenomyoepithelioma. None of these conditions raises the risk of breast cancer.
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