I saw a lady with a boil. It began as a small red bump which got bigger and harder, then drained white stuff, and was now getting better.
The reason she was worried about it was its location: it was on her breast. This was why the chief complaint officially read, “Breast lump” despite the fact that it was technically no such thing.
I examined her carefully, determining that the pathologic process was indeed confined to the skin and clinically did not involve the actual breast tissue in any way. However because she was of an age for screening mammography, I did take the opportunity to urge her to have it; which she did. The problem arrived with the radiology report:
A marker is placed over the area of palpable abnormality. Mammographic images reveal normal breast tissue with no mass or architectural distortion. The pathologic process is confined to the skin. Recommend surgical excision. (emphasis mine)
Um, no. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Musings of a Dinosaur*
Most medical centers routinely perform or require that breast tissue be sent to pathology for histologic examination. The authors of the article (referenced below) question whether this is useful when the breast tissue excised comes from an adolescent male with gynecomastia considering the benign nature of the condition.
Furthermore, the authors point out male breast cancer is rare and when it does occur it is most often in older males, not adolescent males:
In 2009, there were an estimated 1,910 new cases and 440 deaths related to male breast cancer, accounting for just 0.25% and 0.15% of all new cases of cancer and cancer deaths for males in the entire United States, respectively, with historical cohorts demonstrating that the peak incidence of male breast cancer occurs at approximately 71 years of age. More significantly, breast cancer becomes increasingly uncommon among younger age groups.
To look at the issue, the authors did a retrospective chart review of their patients younger than 21 years of age who had undergone subcutaneous mastectomy for gynecomastia between 1999 and 2010. A review of the literature was done, as was an informal survey of major children’s hospitals regarding their practice of histologic examination for adolescent gynecomastia. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*