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Breast Disease, Diagnosis of

Revision Date: January 2012
Fourteenth Edition

Guideline Summary

Scope and Target Population

This guideline applies to all patients who have a breast concern or abnormality.


  1. Reduce the length of time between first knowledge of a breast abnormality and diagnostic resolution.
  2. Ensure that patients with bloody or clear discharge have a mammogram (with or without an ultrasound) and are referred to a surgeon or radiologist.
  3. Ensure that needle biopsies demonstrating abnormal findings are followed by performance of an excisional biopsy.
  4. Ensure that all women with a breast concern that is indeterminate will have a follow-up clinical assessment within 6 to 12 months.

Clinical Highlights

  • It is imperative that communications between the radiologic and surgical consultants and the primary care clinician are thorough and consistent.
  • Patients with a bloody or clear discharge should be referred to a radiologist and/or surgeon for further evaluation.
  • A persistent mass with negative imaging does not rule out malignancy and requires a referral to a surgeon.
  • Abnormal pathologic findings from image-directed biopsy requires a surgical consultation and possible excisional biopsy.