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Breast Cancer

94 year old grandma has breast lump

05/26/2009

Question:

Hi My grandmother is 94 years old and is generally in good health. The other night she called me in the middle of the night because a sore on her breast was bleeding and I mean bleeding, a lot came out. Then she said that she had been noticing a lump there for almost 2 years and never told anyone , which I think was foolish. She wont go to the Dr. as she is scared. But we will get her there. The spot is actually above the breast a little below the collar bone. I felt it and it is flat round and hard as a rock and the sore is in the middle of the hardness, almost like a doughnut. She feels fine and has no pains. I have tried to find something about this on the net with no luck. Any Ideas? Thank you

Answer:

This is too difficult to handle comprehensively as an email consult. However, I have seen many women, old and young, with neglected breast cancers that have become areas of bleeding. Quite often these tumors can be handled with medications, surgery or radiation treatments quite effectively. I would reassure your grandmother that this can likely be handled without too much discomfort on her part, and would support how good it was that she told you about her problem, although later than you would have hoped. Try to see a breast cancer specialist, if possible, and get a second opinion if you are not satisfied. There can be many approaches to this problem in elderly women.

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Response by:

Paula  Silverman, MD Paula Silverman, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University