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Breast Cancer

Ultrasound results shows cyst, nodule

12/06/2007

Question:

Results of my 1st ultra sound showed on left breast: 5mm cyst at 12:00 position, 4mm hypoechoic nodule or complex cyst at the 1:00 position and multiple nodes in the left axilla with the largest measuring 12mm. Can you please give me some insight of what this means, and possible treatment options. My 30 year old daughter was just diagnosed with breast cancer. No family history. This is why I asked for an ultra sound to be done as well as my usual mamogram. Mamos have always shown nothing. I am 54. Thank you for your time!

Answer:

Simple cysts are benign and require no treatment.  Hypoechoic nodules are generally solid nodules.  Depending on their other characteristics, these may be benign or malignant and may require biopsy.  Complex cysts may also require biopsy, but are still likely benign.  As far as lymph nodes are concerned, seeing these is not necessarily a bad thing.  The size is important (12mm is not really that big), but other ultrasound characteristics are also helpful in determining whether the lymph node is benign or may have cancer in it.  Reviewing these findings with a breast specialist may be helpful.  I think that given your family history of a daughter with breast cancer, you may be at increased risk.  If it has not been already suggested, your daughter may want to consider genetic counseling and possibly testing.  If a hereditary cause of cancer is detected, this could have important implications for family members.

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Response by:

Doreen M Agnese, MD Doreen M Agnese, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery and Internal Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University