Changes in 8th AJCC Classification of Breast Cancer

Recently, the eighth edition of the TNM classification of AJCC (American Joint Commission of Cancer) was released. This had a few notable changes from the 7th edition, which have been highlighted below:

  • Immunohistochemically detected tumor markers (ER, PR, HER 2 neu) that are known to have great practical treatment importance are now incorporated into the staging system to refine prognosis of breast cancer
  • The eighth edition of the staging system also uses genomic assays (Oncotype Dx, Mammaprint, PAM 50) when available to downstage some estrogen receptor-positive, lymph node-negative tumors.
  • Lobular carcinoma in situ is removed from the staging system because it is not a malignancy but a risk factor. It is no longer considered Tis.
  • The expert panel clarified that the postneoadjuvant therapy pathological T category (ypT) is based on the largest focus of residual tumor, if present. Treatment-related fibrosis adjacent to residual invasive carcinoma is not included in the ypT maximum dimension.

 

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Axillary Lymph Node Biopsy

Axillary Lymph node (underarm gland) enlargement is a common problem among Indian women.

Patient usually present with complaints of pain in the armpit and/or lumps in the underarm area.

Majority of the times these lumps are reactive in nature, that means they enlarge due to non specific causes like mild hair follicle infection, which can occur after shaving or waxing of hair.

On the other hand, these glands can also become enlarged due to:

  1. Infections like tuberculosis, which can be associated with weight loss & fever
  2. Cancers – commonest cancer which gives rise to underarm nodes is breast cancer. Axillary lymph nodes are the first point of spread from breast cancer.

 

An ultrasound can confirm the diagnosis of axillary lymph node enlargement and if these glands do not resolve after a course of antibiotics, they require a FNAC (fine needle aspiration cytology or in simple terms a ‘needle test’).

If FNAC is inconclusive, then an axillary lymph node biopsy is required to confirm the diagnosis. Axillary lymph node biopsy is a minor procedure, which can be performed as a day care surgery.

 

If you or anyone whom you know has underarm pain or lumps, it is best to get yourself examined by a surgeon.

 

 

Information provided by:

Dr. Rohan Khandelwal

Breast Cancer Surgeon

W Pratiksha Hospital

Gurgaon

 

Interesting Mammogram #5

41 year old lady with a left breast lump since last 6 years with rapid increase in size since the last 4 months. Patient was concerned that she is suffering from breast breast cancer and therefore got a mammography done and presented to my clinic.


A tru- cut biopsy was done and it revealed it to be a phyllodes tumor, which after resection turned out to be a malignant phyllodes tumor with Liposarcomatous differentiation. 

Case uploaded by:

Dr. Rohan Khandelwal

Breast Cancer Surgeon

W Pratiksha Hospital, Gurgaon 

Interesting Mammogram #4 

47 year old lady with complaints of bilateral breast pain since 3 months. Pain was non cyclical and relieved by oral paracetamol. She had a hysterectomy 6 years back and she was a known asthmatic.

On examination, she has multiple tender nodules in both the breasts, localised in the peri-areolar region. 

Mammogram revealed multiple, well defined, rounded densities in both the breasts with a rim of calcification around them (refer to figures). 

Multiple round densities in the breast


Ultrasound done revealed dense fibroglandular tissue with multiple sub-centimetric cysts in the breasts. 

Differential – 1. Multiple oil cysts with calcification 

2. Cysts secondary to fibroadenosis

Case managed by:

Dr Rohan Khandelwal

Consultant, Department of Breast Diseases and Cancer Care

W Pratiksha Hospital, Gurgaon  

Breast Conservation Surgery for Early Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Surgery has undergone a lot of change in the last few years. Earlier, mastectomy (full breast removal) was the norm for breast cancer management, but nowadays if the cancer is detected early, Breast Conservation Surgery (BCS) can be carried out.

In breast conservation surgery (BCS), only the cancerous lump and some portion of normal breast tissue around it is removed, preserving the rest of the breast, thereby leading to a better cosmetic outcome for the patient. BCS is also psychological and physically better for a patient suffering from breast cancer. The overall survival, whether the patient undergoes BCS or mastectomy for breast cancer treatment, remains the same.

 

Breast conservation surgery should be carried out by a trained breast cancer surgeon (breast onco-surgeon). A frozen section analysis should be done at the time of surgery to confirm that the tumor has been adequately removed.

 

 

 

Information provided by:

Dr. Rohan Khandelwal

W Pratiksha Hospital

Gurgaon

 

Seroma formation – a common complication of axillary surgery

A seroma is accumulation of clear fluid in the body after surgery. It is a common complication which can occur in the underarm area (axilla) after breast or axillary surgery. In fact, axillary seromas have been seen even after axillary lymph node biopsy or sentinel lymph node biopsy for breast cancer

To prevent seroma formation, surgeons insert drains after breast and axillary surgery ( both cancerous and non cancerous). Drains are usually removed once the output falls below 40 cc for two consecutive days. Early removal of drains is a common cause which can predispose to seroma formation after breast cancer surgery. 

Patients usually develop fluid collections within 5-7 days after surgery and they present with pain and swelling in the axillary region. Diagnosis of a seroma can be made by your breast cancer surgeon and in case of any doubt, an axillary ultrasound can confirm the diagnosis (image)

Axillary Seroma

Axillary Seroma

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Management of an axillary seroma is relatively simple. They can be aspirated under local anaesthesia. Patients might require 2-3 aspirations before the seroma subsides.

Sometimes fluid collections can become infected and can give rise to pus formation in the axillary region. These situations can be avoided if seromas are detected and aspirated in time.

 

 

Information provided by:

Dr. Rohan Khandelwal

Consultant, Breast Surgeon

W Pratiksha Hospital, Gurgaon

Fat Grafting – a novel technique for breast augmentation

Autologous fat grafting (fat transfer) is a technique in which fat is harvested from the patient using liposuction and after centrifuging, this fat is introduced in the sub-dermal and retro-glandular portions of the breast to augment the breast.

This technique has also been used to fill up post lumpectomy defects following breast conservation surgery for breast cancer.

Advantages of the procedure:

  1. No foreign material or implant is used
  2. Double benefit of liposuction from the donor site
  3. Relatively cheap as compared to an implant based reconstruction
  4. Day care procedure
  5. Natural feel & contour of the breast

 

Potential Drawbacks:

  1. Only 70-80% of fat cells transferred by this technique survive, therefore, there is some amount of volume reduction after the procedure. In some cases, multiple sittings might be required to achieve the desired results.
  2. As these fat cells die, they can sometimes give rise to calcifications, which can be confused for malignant/benign lesions on a mammogram
  3. Haematomas & bruising in the immediate post-op period

 

The following video demonstrates a case of primary breast augmentation using fat grafting: