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What are the Treatments for Atypical Ductal Hyperplasia?

By Florence J. Tipton
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The presence of abnormal cells in a woman’s breast may result in a diagnosis of atypical ductal hyperplasia, a noncancerous condition in the breast ducts that may lead to cancer. An initial response to the condition is the close monitoring of the abnormal cells. A mastectomy — the surgical removal of a breast with abnormal cells — is one treatment that doctors may suggest if atypical ductal hyperplasia is present. Some women may elect to participate in clinical trials recommended by their physician. Because the condition may lead to breast cancer, some women with high-risk factors may choose medication therapy to prevent the formation of the disease.

Since breast cancer is possible with atypical ductal hyperplasia, doctors may recommend procedures to monitor the potential development of breast cancer. Early detection of cancerous cells can improve treatment. Surgery, clinical trials, and medications are other forms of treatment for atypical ductal hyperplasia.

When a physical exam and biopsy — the removal of sample cells — indicate the possibility of breast cancer forming, a physician may begin close monitoring of the cells. The physician usually checks during regularly scheduled appointments to determine if the cells are developing into a tumor. At-home monitoring by performing monthly self-breast exams is another method that doctors may recommend as part of close monitoring.

Undergoing a mastectomy is a preventive measure to reduce the risk of breast cancer. Some women may choose to have a breast removed if other risk factors such as a family history of cancer exist. Some women may have a double mastectomy if an examination and biopsy finds atypical ductal hyperplasia. Removing both breasts wihtout other risk factors or symptoms is considered a drastic measure.

A physician may have access to information about clinical trials that might be appropriate for a woman with atypical ductal hyperplasia. Clinical trials may serve as a way to have access to advanced treatments before approval for widespread use. While participating in a clinical trial does not guarantee successful treatment, it does expose a woman to advanced medical care.

Another treatment option for atypical hyperplasia of the breast is hormone replacement therapy. Two of these medications are tamoxifen and raloxifene, which are typically prescribed after menopause to balance hormones. Long-term use may prevent atypical ductal hyperplasia from progressing into breast cancer. There are possible side effects associated with these drugs, including blood clots, vaginal dryness or a stroke. Women should thoroughly discuss the disadvantages of side effects compared to the possibility of getting breast cancer with their physician.

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