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Open Access Research article

Benign proliferative breast diseases among female patients at a sub Saharan Africa tertiary hospital: a cross sectional study

Christopher Okoth1, Moses Galukande1*, Josephat Jombwe2 and Dan Wamala3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Makerere University, P. O. Box 7072, Kampala, Uganda

2 Department of Surgery, Mulago National Referral Hospital, Kampala, Uganda

3 Department of Pathology, Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Kampala, Uganda

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BMC Surgery 2013, 13:9  doi:10.1186/1471-2482-13-9

Published: 1 April 2013



Non-cancerous diseases of the breast have assumed increasing importance because of the public awareness of breast cancer. These benign diseases are a recognized important risk factor for later breast cancer which can develop in either breast. The risk estimate of these benign breast diseases has not been well established in sub Saharan Africa. Women with benign proliferative or atypical breast lesions have a two- fold risk of developing breast cancer in western populations. The purpose of this study therefore was to determine the prevalence of proliferative disease ( BPBD) with and without atypia among Ugandan Black women.


A cross-sectional descriptive study conducted at Mulago Hospital Breast Clinic between January 2012 and June 2012; 208 women aged 12 years and above with palpable breast lumps were screened. Fine needle aspiration biopsies were taken for cytological examination.


Of the 208 women with benign breast lumps screened, 195 were recruited in the study. The prevalence of BPBD was 18% (35/195). BPBD with atypia was 5.6% (11/195). The mean age and body mass index (BMI) were 28.4 years and 23.26 kg/m2 respectively. The commonest lesions were fibroadenomas for 57%, (111/195), and fibrocystic change were 21% (40/195). Most BPBD with atypia lesions were in the fibrocystic category.


Benign proliferative breast diseases are common, found mostly among premenopausal women. A significant proportion of BPBD had atypical proliferation. An accurate breast cancer risk estimate study for BPBD is recommended.

Benign proliferative breast; Atypia; Breast cancer