One cancer detection clinic has found that less than 60% of cooperative patients with clinically benign breast masses who are reported to their physicians with a recommendation for biopsy actually undergo this procedure, and then often as late as 12 months after clinical diagnosis.1 Furthermore, at least 10% of patients with an apparently benign breast mass who are later found to have cancer receive inappropriate, nonsurgical treatment from the first physician they consult.2 These studies indicate a prevailing belief on the part of many physicians that they can somehow distinguish without surgical biopsy between benign and malignant tumors of the breast.
This paper reports the experience of the surgical service of the University Hospitals of Cleveland in the preoperative clinical versus postoperative pathological diagnosis of benign and malignant breast masses and demonstrates the inaccuracy of clinical diagnosis alone by surgeons as well.
The operating room records of
WRIGHT HK. Breast Masses: Accuracy of Prebiopsy Diagnosis by Surgeons. Arch Surg. 1962;85(6):1021–1023. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1962.01310060157028
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