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Lobular Carcinoma in Situ (LCIS) and Atypical Lobular Hyperplasia

Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) and atypical lobular hyperplasia (ALH) are both overgrowths of abnormal-looking cells in one or more lobules, the breast’s milk-producing sacs.
 

Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) and atypical lobular hyperplasia (ALH) are both overgrowths of abnormal-looking cells in one or more lobules, the breast’s milk-producing sacs.

With ALH, there are fewer abnormal-looking cells than LCIS.

Both LCIS and ALH are non-cancerous breast conditions, but are linked to a higher risk of invasive breast cancer later in life.

According to the American Cancer Society:

  • the risk of invasive breast cancer is seven to 12 times higher than average for women diagnosed with LCIS

  • the risk of invasive breast cancer is four to five times higher than average for women diagnosed with ALH

Some doctors use the term lobular neoplasia to describe both LCIS and ALH. This is because there is some gray area between the two categories. If your doctor uses this term, you can ask for more information about the number of abnormal cells and what they look like.

 

Symptoms of LCIS and ALH

LCIS and ALH usually don’t cause any symptoms, such as a lump or other visible changes to the breast and aren’t commonly seen on a mammogram.

 

Diagnosis of LCIS and ALH

LCIS and ALH are commonly diagnosed after you have a breast biopsy for another problem with your breast in a nearby area.

 

Treatment of LCIS and ALH and reducing the risk of invasive breast cancer

Because both LCIS and ALH are non-cancerous, many women have no treatment after the biopsy.

In some cases, your doctor may recommend completely removing the LCIS or ALH with either an excisional biopsy or lumpectomy.

Because LCIS and ALH increase your risk of being diagnosed with invasive breast cancer later in life, your doctor will likely recommend more frequent breast cancer screening. You and your doctor will develop a personalized screening plan based on your unique situation and may include:

There are other steps you and your doctor may consider to keep your risk of invasive breast cancer as low as it can be, including:

Reviewed by 1 medical adviser
 
Jenni Sheng, MD
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD
Learn more about our advisory board

— Last updated on January 21, 2022, 3:44 PM