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Breast Disorders

Breast cancer is twice as common as all gynecologic pelvic malignancies combined. When a persistent, palpable, dominant breast mass is identified, breast cancer should be excluded. All women should begin breast self-examination and have annual clinical breast examinations by age 20 years. Women age

The breasts are composed mostly of adipose tissue with interwoven fibrous bands (Cooper's ligaments). The glandular tissue and ducts are organized into separate, anatomically distinct lobes, each with a s

Common benign breast disorders include the following:

Adenolipoma (hamartoma)


Ductal hyperplasia

Fat necrosis


Fibrocystic changes


Intraductal papilloma


Lobular hyperplasia

Mammary duct ectasia (periductal mastitis)


Mondor disease (superficial venous thrombosis) keywords" content="fibrocystic, breast, disease, adenoma, fibroadenoma, mass, fibrosistic, fibrocistic



A persistent, palpable, dominant breast mass must be diagnosed definitively. This can be accomplished in the ambulatory environment by using the diagnostic triad of clinical breast examination, mammography, and fine-needle aspiration. A specific pathologic diagnosis can be obtained by fine-needle asp


In obtaining a pertinent history for the assessment of breast pain, it is important to ascertain 1) if the pain is cyclic (premenstrual) or noncyclic (constant or intermittent) and 2) if it is localized or diffuse. Most premenopausal women will experience some degree of physiologic diffuse cyclic mastalgia. A basic breast-oriented history should be obtained, which includes the following factors:

Presenting complaint


Reproductive history


Family history of breast cancer

Personal history of breast cancer

Breast surgeries

Last mammogram--date and result

Nipple Discharge

Nipple discharge is a common breast symptom during a woman's reproductive years. More than 80% of premenopausal women can produce discharge from their nipples with manipulation. Pathologic nipple discharge is spontaneous and most often presents from a single duct opening on the nipple. A benign intraductal papilloma is the most common etiology. Galactography can identify intraluminal lesions and


Breast pain, fever, and clinical signs of infection indicate mastitis. Most cases occur during pregnancy or lactation. S aureus is the most common cause. Dicloxacillin is usually effective therapy and should be