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Occult Contralateral Breast Cancers

 I will be starting a new monthly blog that will share news and information and a link to recent news in the plastic surgery literature that may benefit my patients.

I recently operated on a patient to exchange her right tissue expander placed at the time of her mastectomy to a permanent implant and also did a left breast reduction for symmetry.  An early cancer was found in the left breast reduction specimen and she eventually went on to curative mastectomy on the left side and expander/implant reconstruction.  In my career I have diagnosed several patients with contralateral cancers such as this at the time of revision surgery.  I have also found several incidental breast cancers in routine breast reduction specimens.

An Australian team found an increased rate of contralateral cancers in patients with breast cancer on the contralateral side when they subsequently underwent contralateral breast reduction.  It is important to always send any breast issue for pathological analysis, particularly when the patient has already had a prior breast cancer.