Hyperplasia is a term used to describe the presence of more cells than would be expected. It is an "overgrowth" of cells, however, in hyperplasia, the cells have a normal appearance. Atypia means that the cells appear different from normal cells- but not quite like a cancerous cell. Put those terms together and Atypical Hyperplasia is an overgrowth of abnormal appearing cells.
Atypical hyperplasia is found during a breast biopsy. It is NOT cancer, but increases the risk of developing breast cancer in the future. Women who have had a biopsy showing atypical hyperplasia should have annual screening with mammography, and breast exams by a healthcare provider 1-2 times a year. Some women with atypical hyperplasia may be eligible for drug therapy (tamoxifen or raloxifine) to decrease the chance of developing breast cancer and/or to participate in a clinical trial for this condition. You should discuss these options with your physician.
Learn more about prevention with medications (called chemoprevention) on OncoLink.
Learn more about atypical hyperplasia from the Dr. Susan Love Foundation.