Discussion: Breast Conditions
Throughout a woman’s life, her breasts go through many normal, healthy changes. However, patients do not always understand these changes and often visit health care providers for treatment. When examining these patients, you must be able to identify when a breast condition is the result of a safe and normal physiological change and when it is the result of an abnormal change requiring treatment and management. A diagnosis of a breast condition resulting from an abnormal change can be devastating for women, making emotional support as vital to women’s well-being as proper assessment, diagnosis, and management. For this Discussion, consider how you might diagnose, manage, and support the following two patients presenting with breast conditions:
Case Study 1:
You are seeing a 60-year-old Latina female, Gravida 4 Para 3104, who is concerned about a thick greenish discharge from her left breast for the past month. The discharge is spontaneous and associated with dull pain and burning. Upon questioning, she also tells you that she breastfed all her children and is currently not on any medications except for occasional Tylenol for arthritis. Her last mammogram, 14 months ago, was within normal limits. On exam, her left breast around the areola is slightly reddened and edematous. Upon palpation of the right quadrant, a greenish-black discharge exudes from the nipple. You note an ovoid, smooth, very mobile, non-tender 1 cm nodule in the RUIQ at 11:00 5 cm from the nipple. No adenopathy, dimpling, nipple discharge, or other associated findings. Her right breast is unremarkable. The patient expresses her desire to proactively decrease her risk for developing breast cancer.
Case Study 2:
You are seeing a 53-year-old African American female for a lump she found in her right breast two weeks ago in the shower. Her last mammogram was three years ago and she was told it was “benign.” She had two breast biopsies at ages 32 and 34 in her right and left breasts, respectively. At both times she had surgery for removal of fibroadenomas. She does not routinely do breast self-exams. Her mother had a mastectomy for breast cancer at age 63, and she heard that a paternal aunt had a breast removed for cancer when she was in her forties. Both mother and aunt are alive and well today. It was discovered on postmortem exam that her grandfather had prostate cancer. Menarche was at age 15 and she is still having monthly menses. She is Gravida 4 Para 3104 with her first childbirth at age 31. She was on oral contraception for 10 years, has no history of fertility treatments, and had a bilateral tubal ligation after the birth of her last child at age 35. Past medical history is noncontributory. She wants to know how likely it is that she will get breast cancer. Physical exam reveals breasts are symmetrical with no dimpling, retractions, or rash. Her right breast has a 2 cm non-tender, hard, fixed mass at 3:00 6 cm from her nipple. Left breast is non-tender without masses. No nipple discharge bilaterally. No anterior cervical, infra- or supraclavicular, or axillary adenopathy.
Review Chapter 15 of the Schuiling and Likis text.
Review and select one of the two provided case studies. Analyze the patient information.
Consider a differential diagnosis for the patient in the case study you selected. Think about the most likely diagnosis for the patient.
Reflect on the appropriate clinical guidelines. Think about a treatment and management plan for the patient. Be sure to consider appropriate dosages for any recommended pharmacologic and/or nonpharmacologic treatments.
Consider strategies for educating patients on the treatment and management of the disorder you identified as your primary diagnosis.