Just Diagnosed with Cancer? Chat with Experts

Friday, May 09, 2008 lion, Community Member, asks

Q: Is there such a thing as pre cancer cells?

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Answers (2)
PJ Hamel, Health Guide
5/ 9/08 11:51pm

Yes, Lion, there is - it's called atypical hyperplasia. This is a condition detected via biopsy. Perhaps you felt a lump or thickening, had a biopsy done, and were told the lump wasn’t cancerous, but that it exhibited “atypical hyperplasia.” This is an overgrowth of abnormal-appearing cells in the ducts and lobules of the breast. They’re not cancer cells… but neither are they normal. They’re somewhere in between, with a risk of developing into cancer cells. Kind of like, it’s not raining yet, but those dark clouds sure look ominous… - PJH

Aunderwood, Community Member
6/23/10 9:11am

Once a biopsy is done and the cell is disturbed, is there a time span before it turns transitions to a caner cell?

PJ Hamel, Health Guide
6/23/10 1:21pm

No, having a biopsy has nothing to do with atypical hyperplasia transitioning to active cancer. PJH

Cheryl, Community Member
3/29/12 7:06pm

I just had a biopsy on both breast.  One was find. The other came back as ?Tibia or Tippi????? The doctor said it is not cancer but approx. a 30% chance it will deveople into cancer in the future if not taken care of.  I just received the call today but cannot locate any info that I can see related to the breast.  Maybe you can tell me what she really said. 



PJ Hamel, Health Guide
3/29/12 8:56pm

Cheryl, you'd do well to get something in writing from the doctor, OK? Best you should call and ask that a letter with the findings be sent. In the meantime, I'm guessing she said you have atypical hyperplasia, which the Mayo Clinic Web site defines as follows: 


"Atypical hyperplasia is a precancerous condition that affects cells in the breast. Atypical hyperplasia describes an accumulation of abnormal cells in a breast duct (atypical ductal hyperplasia) or lobule (atypical lobular hyperplasia).


"Atypical hyperplasia isn't cancer, but it can be a forerunner to the development of breast cancer. Over the course of your lifetime, if the atypical hyperplasia cells keep dividing and become more abnormal, your condition may be reclassified as noninvasive breast cancer (carcinoma in situ) or breast cancer.


"If you've been diagnosed with atypical hyperplasia, you have an increased risk of developing breast cancer in the future. For this reason, doctors sometimes recommend more frequent breast cancer screening and careful consideration of medications and other strategies to reduce breast cancer risk."


Good luck to you - PJH

EUGENE sWINGER, Community Member
6/23/08 12:06pm

is there such a thing as pre cancer cells

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By lion, Community Member— Last Modified: 08/28/12, First Published: 05/09/08