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October 19, 1984


Author Affiliations

Pensacola, Fla

JAMA. 1984;252(15):2014. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350150018012

It began as a lump discovered late one night in a hasty on-call shower. It was nestled up behind pectoralis major deep in my axilla. The lump was soft, not fixed, and nontender. Had it been a patient's axilla I probably would have said, "Lipoma—nothing to fret over," and told him to forget about it. But it was mine.

I asked an attending surgeon to have a look. "Lipoma," he said. "No sweat." But on examining me further he found a similar smaller mass contralaterally. Then he said: "Let's watch them for a while."

During the next few months, the lumps became more prominent. The one on the left enlarged, became softer, regressed, and enlarged again. The small one on the right became hard. The attending checked them a second and third time. He decided to remove them and told me to check in in three days.

I went to