Breast Cancer Differential Diagnoses

Updated: May 10, 2023
  • Author: Pavani Chalasani, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: John V Kiluk, MD, FACS  more...
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Diagnostic Considerations

The differential diagnosis includes the following:

  • Circumscribed breast lesions – Benign breast disease (eg, fibroadenomas and cysts), breast cancer, breast lymphoma, and metastasis to the breast from other primary sites (eg, neuroendocrine or extramedullary acute myeloid leukemia)

  • Skin thickening – Inflammatory carcinoma and mastitis

  • Stellate lesions – Breast cancer, traumatic fat necrosis, a radial scar, and a hyalinized fibroadenoma

  • Dilated ducts with or without nipple discharge – Papilloma, ductal carcinoma, duct ectasia, and fibrocystic disease

Differential Diagnoses