Multifocal breast cancer is defined as the presence of two or more tumor foci within a single quadrant of the breast or tumor foci within 5 cms of each other.
Multicentric breast cancer is defined as the presence of two or more tumor foci within different quadrants of the same breast or tumor foci separated by more than 5 cms.
With the advent of better imaging modalities, these tumors are being detected more frequently and it is important to understand their impact on the surgical management.
Patients with multifocal breast cancer are eligible for breast conservation surgery (BCS; provided no other contraindications for this procedure are present) whereas BCS is avoided in patients with multicentric tumors.
Another point of interest to both the patients and the doctors is that the diagnosis of a multicentric or a multifocal tumor does not affect the overall survival of the patient.