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Papers of the Week

2020 Sep 23




Pitfalls of Breast Evaluation in the Emergency Department.


Roberts JT, Digiacinto W, Nguyen QD
Cureus. 2020 Sep 23; 12(9):e10612.
PMID: 33123426.


Breast complaints in the emergency department (ED) include trauma, infection, pain, masses, and nipple discharge. Breast cancer mimics other inflammatory conditions such as mastitis and abscess. Differentiating infectious processes versus cancer can become problematic when no imaging is used. While mammogram is included in the initial imaging for outpatient breast evaluation, ultrasound is more available in the ED. We present a case of a patient seen in the ED for breast pain and mass. The patient had no imaging done, yet the ED physician attempted to drain the mass unsuccessfully and prescribed antibiotics. The patient followed up at a breast center where clinical Stage IIA right breast invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) was diagnosed. This case highlights the importance of breast imaging before drainage for suspected abscess and the importance of follow-up for all breast complaints that present in the ED to rule out a malignancy.