The Clinical Significance of a Lump in the Breast


The final diagnoses in 200 consecutive cases of diseases of the breast seen at the Cleveland Clinic between June, 1935, and June, 1937, are shown in Table I.

One hundred forty-three of these 200 patients complained that they had felt a lump in the breast and in 43 per cent of these 143 patients, the lump proved to be carcinoma. Thus, regardless of age, nearly one-half the patients who complained of a lump in the breast were found to have carcinoma. A history of a lump in the breast can never be disregarded without a thorough investigation.


The age of the patient (Table II) is one of the most important factors in formulating one’s judgment of the nature of a breast lesion and the indications for its treatment. Only 12 per cent of the patients with benign disease of the breast were over 50 years of age, whereas 75 per cent of the patients with carcinoma of the breast were more than 50.

From this table, it is apparent that benign lesions of the breast occur relatively rarely after the age of 50 years. Carcinoma, however, is not an uncommon finding in women from 40 to 50 years of age, 20 per cent of the carcinomas in this series having occurred in women in the forties.

Benign tumors of the breast, especially cysts, are also common in this age group.

In a group of 34 women between the ages of 40 and 50 in whom a definite mass was. . .



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