APMIS. Supplementum. 1989-01-01; 10.1-56.

Autopsy studies of the occurrence of cancerous, atypical and benign epithelial lesions in the female breast

Nielsen M

PMID: 2692656


The main purpose of the present thesis has been to estimate the frequency of malignant, premalignant and benign morphological changes in the female breast and evaluate their possible interrelationship. The method used was a conventional but detailed and systematic examination, both macroscopically and histologically of all available breast tissue. Consequently autopsi material has been the natural basis of the studies. Three groups of women have been examined: 1. A consecutive series of 110 younger women, mean age 39 years, undergoing medicolegal autopsy at the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Copenhagen, Denmark, from October 1983 to July 1984. 2. A consecutive series of 83 unselected, elderly women, mean age 67 years, undergoing autopsy at a large community hospital in Esbjerg, Jutland, Denmark, from November 1976 to May 1977. 3. A consecutive series of 84 women, mean age 74 years, dying with a known diagnosis of breast cancer and undergoing autopsy at two community hospitals in the Copenhagen area, (Glostrup and Frederiksberg), Denmark, from November 1982 to December 1984. The main results were: 1. In younger women clinically occult in situ breast cancer lesions occurred with surprisingly high frequency, 18%, a result which may influence the planning of future screening programs. 2. In elderly women, dying from a number of various reasons, invasive breast carcinomas were found with a frequency corresponding to the life-long risk of Danish women having this disease diagnosed clinically, 8%. Occult in situ carcinomas were found in 18%. 3. In women dying with a clinical diagnosis of breast cancer, the frequency of malignant histological changes in the opposite breast (metastases, invasive and in situ breast carcinomas) was unexpectedly high, 80%, a result which should be taken into consideration during clinical follow-up after treatment for breast cancer.

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