Likelihood of Benign Disease

Kevin R. Fox, MD
Last Modified: October 27, 2002

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Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
A 33-year-old friend of mine has found a lump in her breast. What proportion of breast masses turn out to be benign? 

Answer

Kevin R. Fox, MD, Assistant Director, Clinical Affairs and Associate Professor of Hematology/Oncology at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, responds:

The likelihood of benign disease in this situation is probably 85% or greater. Breast masses in young women turn out to be benign more often than in older women, although a specific age breakdown is hard to give. To rule out the possibility of malignancy, a physician should, carefully evaluate any mass in any age patient.