BREAST CONDITIONS & TREATMENTS
* Do you have painful Breasts? [Back to the top]
The breasts respond to each menstrual cycle with development of cysts. This response is called “Fibrocystic Disease”, though it is a normal response and not a disease. No one knows why some women have pain with these cysts and some do not. Many women can feel painful lumps. Mammograms ( detect abnormal calcium deposits) and ultrasound (detect cyst fluid) are used to distinguish between these lumps and an abnormal growth. Pain can be relieved by avoiding caffeine and by using aspirin and motrin. Consultation with your personal physician is recommended. We perform both ultrasound of the breast and needle biopsy in our office.
* Are most breast masses or lumps cancerous? [Back to the top]
Many younger and older people, male and female, have painful growths in their breasts. Breast lumps can be in the skin or in the tissue of the breasts. The skin growths are only rarely cancerous. They are mostly benign (non-cancerous) cysts but we recommend removal because they can be very painful. However, painful cysts which develop within the breast tissue can be detected through ultrasound in our office and can be drained with a needle, which relieves the pain. If a skin lesion is changing color or has an ulcer that will not heal this should be looked at immediately. Breast surgeries are usually painless.
* Diagnosis of Growths in the Breasts [Back to the top]
In past years, surgical removal of a lump was the only method to determine the type of breast lesion. Now an ultrasound can locate and identify many lumps. A small needle can also be used in the office to biopsy the lump. Larger needles can be used in the hospital or with X-Ray guidance under medication in difficult cases. What was guesswork can now be determined more precisely through these simple and relatively painless procedures. Regular checkups, self examination and mammograms can assist in early detection of cancer. We would be glad to assist you through these procedures or by discussing further concerns. Heredity can be a factor.
* What are the recommended treatments of Breast growths?
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In the past, women were frightened to lose a breast due to surgery for cancer. Now, smaller operations, guided by X-Rays, can remove only the abnormal tissue in most cases. Radioactive tracers and dyes are used to detect the spread of a growth and to remove the growth with limited side effects. Genetic markers of tumors can be analyzed to aid chemotherapy. Chemotherapy, radiation, hormonal and genetic treatments currently make most breast cancers curable. There now exist more localized methods of radiation treatment which limit side effects. All methods of treatment to include surgery continue to improve the quality of life and survival of these patients.
*Do you have Drainage from your Breasts? [Back to the top]
Many women complain of different colors of breast drainage. Milky drainage is not uncommon in younger women even outside of pregnancy. Occasionally this can be abnormal. Cysts in the breast can produce a variety of colors of drainage. Red or pink tinged drainage can suggest a growth which can be benign. Ultrasound can be used to help determine the source of such drainage and the type of growth. Benign growths are usually easy to treat. The source of all red or pink drainage should be promptly evaluated by your family physician, gynecologist or a general surgeon.
* Can Men Have Breast Lumps? [Back to the top]
Breast cancer is about a hundred times less common in men than in women. However, any painless enlarging lump, especially in an older man, should be reported to a doctor. Painful lumps occur in different age groups. Boys and younger men can have swelling (gynecomastia) around the time of puberty. Sometimes this resolves without treatment. Older men can have painless or painful swelling, sometimes associated with liver problems. Mammograms and ultrasound can be used in men much as they are used in women: to determine if a lump is cancer or to guide a biopsy. Since the breasts are smaller, biopsy in men is relatively easy and painless.