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November 1989

Breast Masses in Young Women

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta.

Arch Surg. 1989;124(11):1338-1341. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1989.01410110100020

• To better define the risk of breast cancer in young patients, a retrospective review of all breast biopsies in women under age 40 years at Grady Memorial Hospital, Atlanta, from Dec 1, 1981, to Aug 15, 1987, was performed. During this time, 751 biopsies were performed on patients aged 9 to 40 years. None of the 128 patients aged 20 years or less had carcinoma. Of 150 patients aged 21 to 25 years, two had carcinoma. At age 26, there began a steady rise in the incidence of carcinoma, such that in the 36- to 40-year age group, carcinoma was present in 24.4% of the specimens. This retrospective review confirms previous reports that suggest that carcinoma of the breast is distinctly unusual in patients under age 20 and that breast masses in these young patients should be managed conservatively. As the incidence of carcinoma increases with the age of the patient, one's threshold for excisional biopsy should decrease.

(Arch Surg 1989;124:1338-1341)

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