Usual ductal hyperplasia (UDH)

by Livia Florianova, MD FRCPC
November 19, 2023

Usual ductal hyperplasia (UDH) is a non-cancerous condition in the breast characterized by an increased number of cells inside spaces called ducts. At present, doctors do not know why some women develop UDH.

What are the symptoms of usual ductal hyperplasia?

Most patients with UDH do not have any symptoms and UDH alone cannot be seen when an imaging test such as mammography is performed on the breast. UDH cannot be felt as a lump in the breast unless it is associated with a tumour.

Is usual ductal hyperplasia associated with an increased risk of developing breast cancer?

UDH is associated with a small increased risk of developing breast cancer in the future. Current studies suggest that a person diagnosed with UDH is 1.5 to 2 times more likely to develop breast cancer in their lifetime compared to someone who is not diagnosed with UDH. However, the overall risk of developing breast cancer with UDH alone is very low.

How is the diagnosis of usual ductal hyperplasia made?

The diagnosis of UDH can be made after a small sample of tissue is removed from the breast in a procedure called a biopsy. UDH may also be seen in a larger piece of tissue removed to treat another condition.

What does usual ductal hyperplasia look like under the microscope?

When examined under the microscope your pathologist will see an increased number of epithelial cells which fill and expand some of the ducts. Other noncancerous changes such as cysts, calcifications, and apocrine metaplasia may also be seen in the tissue sample.

usual ductal hyperplasia

About this article

This article was written by doctors to help you read and understand your pathology report. Contact us if you have any questions about this article or your pathology report. Read this article for a more general introduction to the parts of a typical pathology report.

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