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Flashcards in Breast disease Deck (37)
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What would you like to know in a breast Hx?

 Features about lump and breast changes
 Constitutional symptoms of breast cancer are less common
 Family history of cancer, particularly: breast cancer and ovarian cancer, as well as male breast and prostate cancer.
 Personal history of breast disease: atypical ductal hyperplasia is a premalignant change, lobular/ductal carcinoma in situation
 Radiation exposure e.g. Hodgkin’s lymphoma
 Minor risk factors
o Past parity/breast feeding (prior to 35 – protective)
o Age of menarche/menopause (natural/artificial), HRT,
o Obesity
o Ethnic background
o Smoking, alcohol
 General surgical: blood thinners, medications, allergies, social history
 I.e. breast, family history, personal history, surgical history.
 Cyclic mastalgia is more likely to be benign


What is the most common cause of tender breast lump that is not varied with menstrual cycle?

Fibroadenoma (tends to present from teens-30s (most common))

 Could also consider a cyst
 Redness and pain suggests inflammatory breast cancer or mastitis. Other breast cancers are typically painless.
 Fibroadenomas and cysts can be somewhat tender on palpation.


How should you examine a breast?

o Offer chaperone
o General inspection &
- movements with both exposed (arms, underneath, leaning forwards). -Look for symmetry, nipple deviation and changes
o Examine axilla
o Palpate normal breast first.
o Use systematic approach to not miss tissue, including axillary tail of the breast
o Examine axilla lying, as well as supraclavicalar nodes
o Also examine the lungs, for hepatomegaly, feel for spinal tenderness.


What Ix should you do in a young female with tender breast lump that does not vary with menstrual cycle?

o Ultrasound of both breasts if younger than 30yo (dense breast tissue for mammogram): Look for lump, multifocality, other lumps, lymph nodes
o Would not routinely order a mammogram in the absence of an abnormal US or other risk factors (difficult to interpret in this age group anyway)


What are the US features of a breast fibroadenoma?

Oval shaped

well circumscribed

hypoechoic (but not anechoic; not pure fluid).

On top of US: order a biopsy if looking to definitively rule out malignant change
o Core biopsy allows for assessment of the tissue architecture
o Patient preference may be for an excisional biopsy


What is the most likely diagnois for a young woman with a tender breast mass & pain fluctuates, worsening immediately before periods & settles with the onset of menses.

 Most likely: fibrocystic change
 Small cysts that are tender and typically fluctuate with the menstrual cycle.
 Baseline imaging: ultrasound and mammogram to rule out.


In what age group is fibrocystic change the most common cause of breast lumps?

Women of 30-40s


How do you treat the breast lump pain from fibrocystic changes?

decreasing caffeine intake, vitamin B6 (3 months), evening primrose oil (anecdotal evidence, safe).

For problematic pain, can use tamoxifen and androgen drugs.

Follow up to make sure that pain is settling.


What is the most likely diagnosis of a sudden breast lump appearance with mild tenderness in the area prior to developing a lump?

A Simple cyst


What are the US features of a simple cyst?

Posterior acoustic enhancement – suggestive of fluid




How do you Ix a simple cyst?

- US
- Would not biopsy, but might drain (for symptomatic relief).
would not recommend sending off unless there is blood (other than traumatic or if tissue changes are suspected).
- Would still do a mammogram


What are the DDx for a 49 year old woman presenting with 2 months of unilateral nipple discharge?

- ductal carcinoma

- duct ectasia (duct enlargement)

- papilloma (growth in a duct - can be associated with cancer or DCIS: either via direct transformation or may be associated with adjacent cancer.)


What would you like to know in a breast discharge Hx?

 History of nipple discharge: features (presence of milk, pus),
 Discharge is not typically cyclical.
 Spontaneous vs. expressible.
 Other features of the breast lump: erythema, skin changes, nipple retraction (possible in chronic infection), pain, masses associated


What Ix would you do for a breast discharge case?

 Bilateral mammogram
 Ultrasound (although usually reserved for lumps) is also helpful for examining retro-nipple lesions, looking for a mass


What are the causes of a bloody nipple discharge?

1. Hyperplastic lesions (most common)
2. Duct ectasia
3. Pregnancy


What are the causes of a serous nipple discharge?

1. Hyperplastic lesions (most common)
2. Duct ectasia


What are the causes of a watery nipple discharge?

1. Hyperplastic lesions (most common)
2. Duct ectasia


What are the causes of a coloured opalescent nipple discharge?

1. Duct ectasia (most common)
2. Cyst


What are the causes of a milky nipple discharge?

1. Physiological (most common)
2. Galactorrhoea of endocrine origin


How do you Rx bloody nipple discharge?

o Single duct in young woman keen to breastfeed: can remove single duct
o Multiple ducts tend to require removal of the entire duct system (cannot breast feed).


What are the following Ix for a breast lump found on a mammogram?

mammogram -> ultrasound -> biopsy if mass found on US.


Prognosis of a grade 1 cancer in breast

Very good prognosis

Grade 1: low grade & grade 1 cancers are likely to be oestrogen receptor positive (better management)


What are the US features of a malignant breast cancer?

 spiculated (not well circumscribed)
 invasive appearance.
 hypo-echoic (not anechoic)
 poorly circumscribed
 posterior acoustic shadowing.


(5) Important oestrogen exposure Hx in breast cancer

- Nulparity, 1st child after 30yo
- Early menarche
- Late menopause
- OCP use
- Obesity (>30 BMI)


What cancers are BRCA1 & 2 associated with?

BRCA1: breast, ovarian, prostate

BRCA2: (3 cancers from BRCA1) + endometrial, pancreatic


What should you ask in breast Hx?

- Size
- Site
- How many
- when they first noticed, how long it has been there for, progression
- Change of texture, enlarging?
- any lymph nodes felt
- changes of skin overlying
- nipple retraction, discharge (colour, bloody)
- tenderness of nipple/breast. Does it vary with menstruation?
- trauma, recent infections (mastitis), breast feeding
- last mammogram & its results
- constitutional symptoms (but Breast cancer may NOT present with loss of weight & night sweats)
- on bloodthinners? (planning for biopsy soon)
- previous breast lump? biopsy results?

Breast cancer is NOT painful.


Findings of breast cancer on mammogram

- microcalcification (radicular radiation) c.f. macro is benign. US to double check. Common finding for referral
- irregular larger lesions
- asymmetry between breasts


US differences of mass vs. fluid/cyst

Mass: hypoechoic. Posterior shadowing (dark)

Fluid/cyst: anaechoic. Posterior acoustic enhancing (light)


Triple standard for Ix breast cancer

1. Physical breast exam performed by a qualified breast surgeon/individual
2. A form of imaging (mammogram for elderly, US for young)
3. A US guided biopsy (core biopsy)


Rx of breast cancer

- Radiological staging by CT & bone scan only in symptomatic patients (otherwise high false positives).
- depends on result of ER, PR & Her2 from core biopsy

Wide local excision +/- sentinal node biopsy: with a clear surgical margin

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