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In a recent posting, I discussed the need to obtain mammograms for women beyond a certain age prior to undergoing a breast reduction. The reason for is to screen for any abnormalities that may need to be explored further prior to the reduction mammoplasty surgery. It was also noted that even with a “negative” mammogram, there is an incidence of occult breast cancer identified in the removed breast tissue of between 0.16% and 0.40%.

A retrospective study just published in the October 2009 issue of the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Journal evaluated the incidence of precancerous lesions present in the tissue removed in breast reductions. What they discovered was very interesting and clinically helpful in potentially identifying women who are at increased risks of developing invasive breast cancer. Atypical ductal or lobular hyperplasia (abnormal but not cancerous) was diagnosed in the specimens in 4.4% of the women and a non-invasive state of breast cancer (ductal and lobular carcinoma in-situ) was seen in an additional 1.8%.

Why is this important? Based on the pathological diagnosis, a woman’s risk for developing breast cancer in the future can be quantified and appropriate preemptive actions taken as warranted. Atypical ductal and lobular hyperplasia have a 4 – 5 time increased risk of developing invasive breast cancer whereas ductal and lobular carcinoma in situ have and 8 – 10 fold greater risk than the average woman. Ordinary fibrocystic disease has no elevated risk for the later development of breast cancer.

Those women with an elevated risk of developing breast cancer can then be referred to either an oncologist or breast cancer surgeon for further evaluation and possible treatment. This could include prophylactic mastectomies, radiation or even estrogen receptor modulator therapy such as taking tamoxifen.

Therefore, women who undergo breast reductions may now receive an additional benefit from a procedure that already has overwhelmingly positive satisfaction – reducing their risk of developing invasive breast cancer.

If you would like to obtain additional information on breast reduction, breast reconstruction or any cosmetic surgery procedure that I perform or to schedule a consultation, you can contact my office at 480-451-3000.

Steven H. Turkeltaub, M.D. P.C.
Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona

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