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Feature Article

Common breast problems. A systematic approach to diagnosis and treatment

ANANNYA CHAKRABARTI, Sanjay Warrier, Cindy Mak

Figures

© SCIENCEPICTURE.CO/ MEDICAL IMAGES
© SCIENCEPICTURE.CO/ MEDICAL IMAGES

Abstract

A sound approach to diagnosing and treating breast problems can reduce anxiety for both patients and doctors. This involves careful history-taking, a thorough clinical examination, appropriate investigations and specialist referral if appropriate.

Key Points

  • Common breast-related presentations include breast pain, infections, lumps and nipple discharge.
  • A sound approach to diagnosing and treating breast problems involves thorough history-taking, including a hormone and family cancer history, a comprehensive physical examination, appropriate imaging with or without tissue diagnosis and specialist referral if appropriate.
  • Breast pain is rarely a symptom of cancer; it can be cyclical or noncyclical and a common cause is musculoskeletal.
  • Breast infections require early treatment with appropriate antibiotics to avoid abscess formation.
  • Benign breast lesions can be categorised within a spectrum of breast changes with some lesions requiring close follow up.
  • Breast lumps should be worked up with triple test management.

Figures

© SCIENCEPICTURE.CO/ MEDICAL IMAGES
© SCIENCEPICTURE.CO/ MEDICAL IMAGES