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M Muttarak, S Pojchamarnwiputh, W Padungchaichote, B Chaiwun
Correspondence: Professor Malai Muttarak, firstname.lastname@example.org
Objective To assess the value of mammography in the detection of cancer in the contralateral breast in women with ipsilateral breast carcinoma.
Materials and Methods From February 1994 through May 2001, a total of 500 patients with unilateral mastectomy from breast carcinoma had mammograms performed for the first time following mastectomy. We retrospectively reviewed the clinical findings and mammograms of these patients. Four hundred and sixty-four patients were asymptomatic and 36 patients presented with palpable breast or axillary masses. Specific mammographic features of a mass, microcalcifications, architectural distortion and asymmetric density were evaluated. Diagnosis was confirmed by fine needle aspiration biopsy or surgical excision in all patients.
Results Four hundred and sixty-four patients had screening mammograms and 36 patients had diagnostic mammograms. All 36 symptomatic patients had abnormal mammograms. Of these, 12 (33.33%) patients were found to have second primary breast carcinoma, 12 (33.33%) had metastases to the contralateral breast or axillary lymph nodes, six (16.66%) had fibroadenomas, two (5.55%) had abscesses, three (8.33%) had fibrocystic change, and one (2.77%) had axillary node reactive hyperplasia. Of the 464 asymptomatic patients, five (1.07%) had second primary breast carcinoma, five (1.07%) had fibrocystic change, and two (0.43%) had fibroadenomas. The mean age at the time of diagnosis of the first primary carcinoma in the symptomatic patients was 41.9 years (range 35-60 years), and was 43.4 years (range 36-56 years) in the screening group. The mean time interval between the two carcinomas was four years (range one to 13 years) in symptomatic group and 3.4 years (range one to four years) in screening group. The tumour stage in the screened group was in situ (n = 2), stage I (n = 3) and in the symptomatic group was stage I (n = 2), stage II (n = 5), stage III (n = 5).
Conclusion Patients who have ipsilateral breast carcinoma have a strong risk to develop a second primary carcinoma in the contralateral breast. Close follow-up of the second breast with careful clinical examination and mammography are necessary for the early detection of cancer.
Keywords: Bilateral breast carcinoma, mammography, breast diseases
Singapore Med J 2002; 43(5): 229-233