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Tumori. 1988 Apr 30;74(2):177-81.

The role of galactography in the detection of breast cancer.

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  • 1Centro per lo Studio e la Prevenzione Oncologica, Florence.


The authors report on a series of 529 consecutive patients examined on physical examination, mammography, nipple discharge cytology and galactography. The criterion for galactography was essentially bloody nipple discharge (73% of cases). Serous nipple discharge was not considered worthy of routine galactography since it is associated with an extremely low incidence of breast cancer. Surgical excision and histologic examination of the discharging duct was performed in 200 cases. Eighteen cases of breast cancer were detected (10 infiltrating, 8 intraductal) of which 9, 6, 7 or 7 were suspected on physical examination, mammography, cytology or galactography, respectively. All combined tests suspected 13 of 18 breast cancers; 3 intraductal breast cancers were biopsied because of evidence of multiple papillomas on galactography, and 2 infiltrating breast cancers were operated because of persistent bloody nipple discharge in the absence of any other sign. No breast cancer was suspected on galactography alone. Galactography is indicated in the presence of bloody nipple discharge, and a biopsy should be performed when breast cancer or multiple papillomas are suspected. The diagnosis and excision of a single papilloma (breast cancer was never misdiagnosed as a single papilloma on galactography) is not worthwhile since a single papilloma is a benign lesion, and the benefit of its excision is still unclear.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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