What is Atypia Hyperplasia?

While Atypia Hyperplasia Isn't Cancer, It Could Develop Later On

Atypical Ductal Cells
Atypical Ductal Cells. Illustration © Pam Stephan

Atypia hyperplasia, also known as atypical hyperplasia, is a precancerous state that impacts cells in your breast. While it isn't dangerous on its own, it can cause issues later on. Find out more about this condition and how you can prevent cancer from developing. 

What is Atypia Hyperplasia?

Atypical hyperplasia is a collection of abnormal cells in the breast. It is not a form of cancer, but can be a precursor to cancer later on.Over time, the cells can split and become even more abnormal and eventually transition to either invasive or non-invasive breast cancer.


Atypical hyperplasia is difficult to recognize, as it typically has no symptoms. It is often only found during a routine mammogram or biopsy for another issue. This highlights the importance of regular screenings.

What's the Relationship Between Atypia Hyperplasia and Breast Cancer?

If you've been diagnosed with atypia hyperplasia, you are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer; you are approximately four times as likely to develop cancer than other women. The risk increases as the years go by. Women who were diagnosed with atypia hyperplasia 25 years ago have a 30% risk of developing cancer. Women diagnosed early on, such as before 45, have an increased risk of developing cancer as well. 

How is Atypia Hyperplasia Treated?

Once identified, your doctor will likely recommend surgical removal of the abnormal cells. You will also probably have increased screenings and tests to ensure cancer has not begun.

This is to help identify any issues early on, when cancer is typically easier to treat. Your doctor may recommend at-home screenings, clinical breast exams or MRIs depending on your situation and family history. 

How Can I Reduce My Risk of Developing Breast Cancer?

In order to prevent atypia hyperplasia developing into breast cancer, your doctor may recommend several different courses of action:

  • Preventative Medications: Estrogen receptor modulators are often prescribed to prevent breast cancer. Drugs like tamoxifen and raloxifene have been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer when taken for five years. 
  • Avoid Menopausal Treatments: While many menopausal women are prescribed hormonal medications to help them with symptoms, these medications increase your risk of developing cancer and your doctor may recommend you avoid them. 
  • Consider a mastectomy: While this is not an easy choice and should be considered carefully, some women may decide to undergo a mastectomy to reduce their risk of developing breast cancer later on. If you are considering this path, talk to your doctor. It may be a good option for you depending on your gene's mutations or family history with breast cancer. Your doctor will help you evaluate the risks and benefits of a mastectomy for your unique situation. 

Finding out that you have atypia hyperplasia can be scary and stressful, causing you to worry about breast cancer.

By being aware of the condition and its potential risks, you can make informed choices about screening measures and preventative treatments in order to reduce your risk. Regular screenings and visits with your doctor will help you catch cancer early on while it's still relatively simple to treat. 


National Cancer Institute. "Atypia hyperplasia". 2015. 

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