Benign Breast Disease May Signal Increased Risk For Cancer

Finding out that a breast abnormality is nothing to worry about, caused by a benign disease, is great news. That news, however, should be followed up with a little extra care in regard to the potential for breast cancer down the road.

That’s the recommendation issued by researchers at the Division of Cancer Biology at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. There researchers wanted to delve into the potential link between benign breast disease and eventual cancer. They ultimately found that about 10 percent of all patients diagnosed with benign disease will eventually go on to develop cancer.

The findings resulted from an analysis of 13,485 women who underwent breast biopsies between 1967 and 2011. The results showed that at the median follow-up of 15.8 years, 1,273 of the women had developed breast cancer. Of those women, 81 percent of the cases were considered invasive with 61 percent being ductal and 13 percent mixed/lobular.
Although only 10 percent of women with benign breast disease went on to develop cancer, researchers say the findings signal a need for action. When benign breast disease is diagnosed, healthcare providers and patients may want to focus on prevention therapy since the disease puts women in a higher risk category.

More than 246,000 cases of invasive breast cancer are diagnosed annually in the United States. Some 40,000 women die from the disease each year. Women who are at higher risk for breast cancer are urged to speak with their healthcare providers to understand what preventative measures they might take. Quitting smoking, losing weight, avoiding alcohol and exercising may all help lower overall risks.

Screening for breast cancer is something all women will want to pursue at some point in their lives. Lower risk women generally are asked to submit to annual mammograms starting around the age of 40. To find out more about breast cancer and prevention, speak with a healthcare provider.

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