Usual ductal hyperplasia (UDH)

by Livia Florianova, MD FRCPC
August 3, 2022

What is usual ductal hyperplasia (UDH)?

Usual ductal hyperplasia (UDH) is a non-cancerous condition in the breast. It starts from cells normally found inside small spaces called ducts.

What causes usual ductal hyperplasia?

At present we do not know what causes 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.

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