Routine Breast Examination
It is recommended that women over age 40 have a breast examination by a physician. This can be done by the patient’s primary physician or their gynecologist. However, many women feel more comfortable having their yearly exam performed by a breast surgeon. At Atlantic Surgical Group, we routinely see women for their annual breast examinations.
Masses develop in the breast on a fairly common basis. The majority of these fall into the benign category, which means that they are non- cancerous. The most common of these benign masses is the breast cyst. Cysts are quite common in pre-menopausal women and can cause breast discomfort and the feeling of a lump. This often varies with the menstrual cycle. Painful breast cysts can often be “cured” in minutes by a needle aspiration, very easily done in the office. Fibrocystic disease can also cause a “lumpy” feeling in the breast as well. This can also be affected by the menstrual cycle. Fibrocystic disease is quite common, and sometimes requires further intervention or biopsy to be assured of the diagnosis.
It is important to have these types of lumps or masses evaluated by a breast surgeon. It is sometimes difficult to pinpoint the cause of a breast mass, and these types of masses may require imaging and possibly a biopsy to help identify the exact cause.
There are few things scarier to a woman than to have her doctor tell her that there is an abnormality on her mammogram, or, maybe worse, for her to find a breast mass herself. These findings often require a visit to the breast surgeon. The surgeon will review the patient’s history, with particular attention to prior breast issues, prior breast surgery and family history of breast cancer. The doctor will also perform a complete breast examination, and review the imaging. Following this, the surgeon to recommend from a wide range of options for further investigation, if needed, including some or all of the following:
Further imaging (focused mammogram, ultrasound, etc)
Needle biopsy (one of 2 types) for palpable masses
Image guided needle biopsy (done by a special breast radiologist) for non-palpable findings
Many of these abnormalities will turn out to be benign. But when a diagnosis of breast cancer is made, it should be comforting to know that our surgeons have the longest experience in the region in dealing with all of the complexities of breast cancer care. Dr. Schwartz, Dr. Gornish, and Cotler have extensive experience (over 60 years combined!) in dealing with breast diseases. Dr Schwartz and Gornish are both active faculty members of the Jacqueline Wilentz Comprehensive Breast Center, and deal with breast issues on a regular basis, keeping up with all of the latest surgical literature on breast diseases, and the newest techniques in breast surgery.