Non-cancerous conditions of the breast

A non-cancerous (benign) condition of the breast is a change to breast cells, but it is not cancer. Non-cancerous conditions do not spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body and are not usually life-threatening.

The most common non-cancerous conditions of the breast are:

  • atypical hyperplasia
  • breast pain (called mastalgia)
  • breast cysts
  • fibrocystic breasts
  • nipple discharge

Other non-cancerous conditions that affect the breast include:

  • adenosis
  • breast infection (called mastitis)
  • fat necrosis
  • gynecomastia (breast enlargement in men)
  • mammary duct ectasia
  • radial scars

Expert review and references

  • Collins LC & Schnitt SJ . Pathology of benign breast disorders. Harris JR, Lippman ME, Morrow M, Osborne CK (eds.). Diseases of the Breast. 5th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health; 2014.
  • Jalaguier-Coudray A, Thomassin-Piana J . Solid masses: what are the underlying histopathological lesions?. Diagnostic and Interventional Imaging. 2014.
  • Nassar A, Conners AL, Celik B, Jenkins SM, Smith CY, Heiken TJ . Radial scar/complex sclerosing lesions: a clinicopathologic correlation study from a single institution. Annals of Diagnostic Pathology. 2015.

Atypical hyperplasia of the breast

Women with atypical hyperplasia have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Learn about screening, diagnosis and treatment of atypical hyperplasia.

Breast pain

Breast pain is usually associated with a benign (non-cancerous) breast condition and is rarely a sign of cancer. Learn about causes, diagnosis and treatment of breast pain (called mastalgia).

Breast cysts

Breast cysts do not increase the risk of breast cancer. Most are benign (non-cancerous) and are rarely cancerous. Learn about diagnosis and treatment of breast cysts.

Fibrocystic breasts

Fibrocystic breast changes are a common benign (non-cancerous) condition involving thickening, lumps and cysts in the breast. Learn about symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

Nipple discharge

Nipple discharge can be caused by several conditions, usually benign (non-cancerous). Learn about causes, diagnosis and treatment of nipple discharge.

Other non-cancerous breast conditions

Radial scars, fat necrosis and adenosis are benign (non-cancerous) conditions that can affect the breast. Learn about these other benign breast conditions.