Hyperplasia is a term used to describe the presence of more cells than would be expected. It is an "overgrowth" of cells. 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 have about a four times higher risk of developing breast cancer in the future.
These women should have screening with mammography and breast exam by a healthcare provider every year. These women should consider doing a self breast exam regularly to become familiar with their normal breast tissue and report any changes to their healthcare provider.
Women with atypical hyperplasia may be able to take a medication (tamoxifen or raloxifine) to decrease the chance of developing breast cancer. This is called chemoprevention. You should discuss these options with your healthcare providers.
Learn more about prevention with medications (called chemoprevention) on OncoLink.
Learn more about atypical hyperplasia from the Dr. Susan Love Foundation.