Revision 5 for 'Breast cancer (summary)'

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Breast cancer (summary)

Breast cancer is the commonest malignancy in female patients.

Reference article

This is a summary article for breast cancer. However, we do have a more in-depth reference article: breast carcinoma.


  • epidemiology
    • [content pending]
  • presentation
    • breast lump
    • change in breast shape or skin
    • axillary lymph node enlargement or breathlessness (metastases)
  • pathophysiology
    • risk factors
      • modifiable: smoking, hormonal birth control
      • genetic: 5-10% of cases (BRCA1 and BRCA2 90%, p53, PTEN, STK11)
    • classification
      • histology (ductal, lobular)
      • grade (low, intermediate, high)
      • stage (TNM)
      • receptor status (ER, PR)
      • DNA assays
  • investigation
    • mammogram (older) and ultrasound (younger)
    • breast MRI for challenging cases
    • US/mammogram guided biopsy
  • treatment
    • [content pending]

Role of imaging

  • population screening using mammography
    • 45/50 - 70/75 (depending on country)
  • making a diagnosis in symptomatic patients
  • staging the disease
  • assessing response to treatment

Radiographic features

In general, younger patients have denser breasts and therefore mammography is less helpful. In symptomatic patients, mammography and ultrasound may both be helpful, but in general, mammography is more useful for older patients and ultrasound for younger patients.​

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