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Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am. 1992 Mar;19(1):91-102.

Diagnostic considerations in breast disorders of children and adolescents.

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Department of Pediatrics, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.


A review of the medical literature on breast disorders in children and adolescents leads to a number of conclusions. Though females may develop breast masses early in life, the risk of malignancy is extremely low. Therefore, most breast masses in the young can be managed conservatively without surgery. Breast masses in young girls may represent thelarche or tumors of adjacent structures, but are unlikely to be malignant. The most common form of bilateral breast enlargement in prepubertal girls is premature thelarche, a benign, transient, and incomplete form of precocious puberty. Fibroadenoma is the most common cause of breast mass in female adolescents. In the rare case in which a breast mass in this population is malignant, it is more likely to be a noncarcinomatous or metastatic cancer. Because of the low risk of malignancy and the relatively different composition of the adolescent as compared to the adult breast, mammography is not recommended for routine screening or routine imaging of breast masses in adolescents. The role of breast self-examination should be further studied.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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