Which clinical history findings are characteristic of breast cancer?

Updated: Dec 27, 2019
  • Author: Pavani Chalasani, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: John V Kiluk, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

Many early breast carcinomas are asymptomatic, particularly if they were discovered during a breast-screening program. Larger tumors may present as a painless mass. Pain or discomfort is not usually a symptom of breast cancer; only 5% of patients with a malignant mass present with breast pain.

Often, the purpose of the history is not diagnosis but risk assessment. A family history of breast cancer in a first-degree relative is the most widely recognized breast cancer risk factor.


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