Breast tumor - Definition

March 2017


Definition


A breast tumor constitutes the appearance of a palpable lump in the breast, which is produced by an abnormal growth of breast tissue. These cases require an ultra sonogram or breast x-ray, called a mammogram, to be performed for investigation of the lump. A breast tumor can be benign, such as a cyst, fibroadenoma, or phyllodes tumor, and require no treatment, or surgical ablation at most, if it represents severe discomfort. If the tumor is not removed then its progress will be monitored. If malignancy is suspected, a biopsy is performed, where a sample is extracted, in order to analyze the nature of the growth. If cancer is confirmed, a full work-up is conducted, consisting of different imaging procedures to verify if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or other organs. Treatment methods therefore depend on the results of this work-up, with surgical removal a possibility, where either the tumor alone or the entire breast is removed, or radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Hormonal therapy is sometimes prescribed following these treatments.

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