Research Article

Risk of breast cancer in women with history of benign disease of the breast.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984; 288 doi: (Published 28 January 1984) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984;288:275
  1. M M Roberts,
  2. V Jones,
  3. R A Elton,
  4. R W Fortt,
  5. S Williams,
  6. I H Gravelle


    A consecutive series of 791 women who had attended diagnostic breast clinics during 1967-70 and been found to be free of malignant disease were later traced to determine their subsequent incidence of breast cancer. Of the 770 (97%) successfully traced, 22 had developed breast cancer. Based on data from the Welsh Cancer Registry only eight cases of breast cancer had been expected, so that the excess risk for the group was 2.7. The increased risk occurred in all age groups and in women deemed "essentially normal" as well as in those who had had a pathological abnormality. The risk was increased when epithelial hyperplasia was present. No excess mortality from breast cancer was apparent, but follow up was short. More breast symptoms were experienced and more biopsies performed than expected in this group of women. Women with a past history of benign breast disease have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer. Selective screening of these women, however, may be uneconomic and a cause of groundless anxiety.