An audit of patients clinically deemed as high risk for malignant breast pathology at the Helen Joseph Hospital Breast Clinic

Keywords: malignant breast pathology, high risk patient, Helen Joseph Hospital Breast Clinic

Abstract

Background: The Helen Joseph Hospital Breast Clinic has implemented a clinical triage system for patients presenting with a variety of breast concerns. The goal of this system is to expedite the process from initial presentation to radiological assessment of patients with suspected breast malignancy or breast abscess in a resource limited setting. The objective was to assess the clinical, imaging and histological diagnoses of breast disease in these patients with malignancy and sepsis.

Methods: A retrospective audit of patients clinically deemed high risk for malignant breast pathology referred to the breast imaging unit (BIU) in 2018. Patients were triaged based on strict clinical criteria: presence of a breast mass with or without lymph nodes or a breast abscess. Patients that were subsequently referred for mammography/ultrasound were identified using the patient files in the BIU. Results were recorded on Microsoft Excel and analysed using SAS version 9.2.

Results: Three hundred and twenty-five patients were included in this study. Eighty-seven (26.8%) were diagnosed with breast cancer and 236 (72.6%) with benign disease. The most common presenting complaint was a palpable mass (n = 227; 69.9%). Ninety-five per cent of patients characterised as BI-RADS 5 had malignant disease. 55.8% of malignancies diagnosed on ultrasound had locally advanced disease. The most common histological diagnosis of malignancy was invasive ductal carcinoma (n = 67, 77%). The most commonly diagnosed benign disease was breast abscess (n = 42, 17.8%).

Conclusion: BI-RADS findings correspond to similar studies, however, a large number of benign breast disease was diagnosed. This may indicate heightened clinical awareness of breast cancer diagnosis and early detection. A significant percentage of malignancies presented as locally advanced. Except for a lower number of invasive lobular carcinoma, the histological spectrum of malignant disease is similar to comparative studies.

Author Biographies

H M Brink, University of the Witwatersrand

Department of Diagnostic Radiology, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

G Rubin, Helen Joseph Hospital

Department of Radiology, Helen Joseph Hospital, South Africa

C A Benn, Helen Joseph Hospital

Breast Surgical Unit, Helen Joseph Hospital, South Africa

S Lucas, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital

Department of Radiology, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, South Africa

Published
2021-09-10
How to Cite
Brink, H., Rubin, G., Benn, C., & Lucas, S. (2021). An audit of patients clinically deemed as high risk for malignant breast pathology at the Helen Joseph Hospital Breast Clinic. South African Journal of Surgery, 59(3), 102-107. Retrieved from http://sajs.redbricklibrary.com/index.php/sajs/article/view/3474
Section
Breast Surgery