Each year, thousands of women seek medical treatment for breast lumps or abnormalities. For many, the diagnosis is a benign breast condition that will have little effect on their lives. But, for others, the diagnosis is breast cancer.
It is important to know and understand the different types of breast diseases, what symptoms need to be reported to your doctor immediately, how breast disease is diagnosed, and how it is treated.
At Surgical Associates, our mission is to establish a long-term relationship with you to meet your comprehensive breast care needs and provide you access to the latest and most advanced therapies and technologies. We consider it a privilege to partner in your health.
Our breast care services include:
- In-office ultrasound evaluations
- Image-guided biopsies
- Cyst aspirations
- Counseling for patients considered at high risk for breast cancer
- Education regarding breast cancer prevention and risk reduction
- Access to genetic counseling
- Access, when appropriate, to clinical trials for investigation of new treatment of malignant breast disease
- Referrals for reconstructive surgery
- Support groups for patients and their families
At Surgical Associates, our experienced physicians and staff focus extensively on breast health. We help you find answers, develop a plan of treatment and guide you through an often frightening and confusing time.
Benign Breast Disease
Any changes to the breasts that are non-malignant can be classified as benign breast disease. Benign breast conditions are very common and may be experienced by as many as nine out of 10 women at one point in their lives.
Symptoms of benign breast disease may include lumps or thickening of the breast, pain or a discharge from the nipple. Other breast changes may occur without symptoms and may be found only during a screening mammogram.
In most instances, the presence of a benign breast condition does not mean you have a significantly increased risk of developing breast cancer. There is, however, a slight increase in the risk of breast cancer associated with some benign conditions.
Most often, benign breast conditions don’t require further treatment once evaluated. Unlike breast cancer, they are not life threatening. However, some benign conditions may mimic symptoms of cancer and may require further testing, including biopsies.
Fibrocystic Breast Changes: “Fibrocystic breast change” is a broad term referring to breast lumps. It can involve symptoms and conditions that encompass a spectrum of breast conditions.
Fibrosis, the formation of scar-like tissue, may cause breast swelling, pain and lumps. Cysts are fluid-filled sacs that feel like lumps and can enlarge and feel tender prior to your menstrual cycle. They also occur in women on hormone replacement therapy, and are more frequent as we age, but decrease in development after menopause.
Lumps in the breasts can vary from day to day. Up to one-third of women age 35 to 50 have cysts; most are too small to feel and can be detected only by diagnostic studies. It is important to observe and understand the consistency of your breasts so suspicious changes can be evaluated by your physician.
Breast Inflammation: Breast inflammation or infection is also called “mastitis.” The nipple, the ducts draining to it, or deeper sites under the skin may be involved and abscesses can develop.
Mastitis is most common in women who are breast-feeding – a duct becomes blocked, causing milk to accumulate, which can lead to inflammation and infection. Early treatment is with antibiotics. If an abscess forms, it is drained either with a needle or an incision. Some women nearing menopause develop inflamed ducts beneath the nipple. Smoking is associated with a recurrent infection in the ducts directly under the nipple and frequently requires removal of the duct system directly under the nipple.
Benign Breast Tumors: Benign tumors, also called fibroadenomas, are the most common tumors in younger women. There is usually no pain associated with fibroadenomas. The tumors feel solid and round and can enlarge with pregnancy and breast-feeding. Depending on the size of your tumor, your doctor may recommend removal.
Every year, more than 200,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with breast cancer. And while those statistics cause great concern for women of all ages, the news is actually good. Although the number of women diagnosed with cancer has increased over the past several years, the number of deaths attributed to breast cancer has actually decreased.
Early detection of breast cancer in its most treatable stages and comprehensive care have been credited with this important turnaround. These essential components of treatment are critical for long-term survival after breast cancer.
Your breast cancer treatment plan may involve close communication with additional members of a multidisciplinary care team, including specialists in radiation oncology, reconstructive surgery and other health care professionals. All of these critical resources are close at hand and immediately accessible through Surgical Associates.
At Surgical Associates, we also recognize that treating your breast cancer involves much more than simply performing surgery. Members of our team work closely with you to ensure that you’re the best you can be – both physically and emotionally.