Benign Breast Disease an Important Breast Cancer Risk Factor
A study led by the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center adds evidence to a growing body of knowledge that shows women with benign breast disease have a higher risk for breast cancer, and that certain types of breast disease may predict the near-term development of breast cancer. The findings were published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
"Our findings indicate a link between select types of benign breast lesions and the later development of breast cancer," says Lynn Hartmann, M.D., Mayo Clinic oncologist and lead investigator of the study. "Women who have a breast biopsy that is benign must discuss the possibility of additional risks with their doctors."
Benign breast disease refers to any lumps or mammographically-detected abnormalities that have been biopsied and found to not contain cancerous cells. Each year in the United States it is estimated that more than 1 million women have a breast biopsy with benign findings, and Hartmann encourages clinicians to look more closely at the type of lesions they find. The Mayo team is evaluating various possible risk factors for a later breast cancer, including age at benign biopsy, family history of breast cancer and the pathologic findings of the benign lesion. "Our goal is to do a better job of risk prediction for women with various types of benign breast conditions," says Hartmann.