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A high yield review of

Tiffany M. Graham, M.D.

(4th year Pathology Resident)



Table of Contents.

Breast Basics.

Benign Breast Disease.

Pre-Cancerous Lesions.

Breast Cancer.

Cancer Grading & Staging.

Tips for Breast Sign-Out.

Grossing Manual.



Recent Posts.

Recent Posts

Breast (Cytology) Mindmap

Click on Attachment or Image below to download the original PDF document

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Breast Pathology Mindmap Cytology

Interactive Breast Mindmap

Click on the image below to open this INTERACTIVE BREAST PATHOLOGY MINDMAP

 for a rapid review of the pure "need to know" topics in breast pathology.


To expand a topic, double click on the underlined topic. Close the "branch" by double clicking again.

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Click on the Image to open this interactive mindmap in a new window

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The Basics of Breast Pathology

Breast Basics.



& Histology

In order to learn about the disease, one must fully understand the basic anatomy and histology of the breast. Here is a quick recap of benign breast tissue.

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Breast development occurs under the control of many hormones such as  prolactin, growth hormones, estrogen, progesterone, and adrenocorticoids. Hormonal fluctuation is greatest during puberty, pregnancy and menopause; these changes can be appreciated histologically.

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Breast imaging studies are performed in the workup of breast cancer. Pathologists are expected to correlate the histologic findings with imaging to make an accurate diagnosis. Click to learn more...

Benign Breast Diseases

Benign Breast Disease.

Benign diseases of the breast can be categorized as non-proliferative, proliferative and proliferative lesions with atypia. Proliferative lesions have an increased risk for breast cancer development. This post contains a quick overview of benign breast lesions before we delve further into the specifics of each disease. Click to learn more

Benign: Inflammatory Conditions
Inflammatory breast disease
Benign: Non-Proliferative Lesions

“Fibrocystic disease” also referred to as "fibrocystic changes (FCC)" is the wastebasket term for benign breast disease characterized by fibrosis, cysts, inflammation, and a host of other benign changes. This post contains all the highlights of the various histologic patterns that encompass fibrocystic breast disease.


Non Proliferative fibrocystic changes:

  • Cyst formation/ Duct ectasia

  • Stromal fibrosis

  • Apocrine metaplasia

  • Adenosis

  • Calcifications

Proliferative fibrocystic changes:​

  • Sclerosing Adenosis

  • Columnar Cell Change (CCC)

  • Flat epithelial atypia (FEA)

  • *Usual ductal hyperplasia (UDH)

  • *Papillomas

  • *Radial scar/radial sclerosing lesion

* = Topics covered in separate posts​

Learn more about Fibrocystic Breast Disease

Benign: Non Proliferative Disease


Refers to an increased amount of breast tissue in a male. Often due to excess estrogen. Can be idiopathic or associated with BRCA2 mutation. Histology shows enlarged ducts with increased stroma (NO lobules). 

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Benign: Proliferative Breast Lesions
Benign: Proliferative Disease
Intraductal Papilloma
Phyllodes Tumor
Sclerosing Adenosis
UDH-ADH-DCIS-Cancer progression
Typical Breast Cancer Progression

Ductal Proliferative Pathway

Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC)

Lobular Proliferative Pathway

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Breast Cancer 101
Breast Cancer Classification

Breast Cancer.

Epidemiology of Breast Cancer
Lymphatic Spread of Breast Cancer
Male Breast Cancer
Prognosis & Treatment Options
Skin Changes in Breast Cancer
Histologic Sub-Types of Breast Cancer
Mucinous (Colloid) Carcinoma
Other Breast Cancers
Apocrine Carcinoma
Paget's Disease of the Breast
Granular Cell Tumor
Inflammatory Carcinoma
Medullary Carcinoma
Papillary Carcinoma
Phyllodes Sarcoma
Secretory Carcinoma
Metaplastic Carcinoma
Metastatic Disease
Solid Papillary Carcinoma
Tubular Carcinoma

Discover how Pathologists grade breast cancer using the Modified Bloom-Richardson Grading system.       

Click to learn more...                                                       

Grading & Staging Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer for Pathologists.


Breast Cancer

ajcc logo.PNG

Breast cancers can over-express estrogen, progesterone or Her2 receptors leading to increased cell proliferation. Testing for these receptors include IHC stains or FISH. Click to learn more...

ER/PR/Her2 Testing

Radiation and chemotherapy can be given before or after breast cancer resection. As a part of the AJCC and CAP breast cancer staging protocols, pathologists should evaluate any specimen following chemotherapy/radiation to assess the response of the tumor to treatment.    

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Tips for Breast Sign Out


for signing out Breast Biopsies

Before signing out something as "benign breast tissue", take a second to think about what else this could be. Here is a quick recap of what the pathologist needs to know about core needle biopsies for breast specimens. Click to learn more...

Tips for Breast Sign-Out.

Useful Stains for Breast Cases

A great post for any pathology resident or pathologist's assistant. Here is a step-by-step, extremely simple guide to grossing a breast lumpectomy specimen. Great for all visually-inclined learners, this post contains many diagrams, gross photos and even a very thorough sample dictation. Click to learn more...

How to Gross a Breast Case

How to Gross a Breast Specimen.

Grossing a Mastectomy Specimen

(Click on a topic below to learn more)


The Basics


Benign Breast Conditions 


Breast Cancer



Essentials for [future] Pathologists


Index of topics

Index of Breast Topics.

These posts contain high yield information collected from various educational resources including textbooks, journal articles, educational websites and more. They are intended for educational use only. I strongly believe the spreading of knowledge and depth of learned information should be encouraged in today's society rather than coveted. However, membership is required to view these posts  and should be used solely for educational purposes only. It is FREE to sign up

Index of ALL HY Breast Posts