Background. Bilateral synchronous breast cancer is uncommon (accounting for 1.0%-2.6% of all patients with breast cancer), and most physicians do not accumulate a large personal experience of patients with this disease. We reviewed our experience with patients with bilateral synchronous breast cancer, focusing on the mode of detection and histologic features in the 2 breasts. Methods. The charts of patients who were treated at this institution for bilateral synchronous breast cancer during the 15-year period of 1984 through 1999 were reviewed. Information regarding age, mode of detection, histopathologic features, treatment, and overall survival were analyzed. Results. During the study period, 51 patients (all women) were treated at our institution for bilateral synchronous breast cancer This comprised 2.1% of all patients (n = 2382 patients) treated for breast cancer during the same period of time. The first cancer was detected by palpation in 81% and by mammography in 14%. The corresponding figures for the contralateral cancer were 24% and 54%, respectively. The histologic type of cancer was identical in the 2 breasts in 29 patients (57%) and was different between the 2 breasts in 22 patients (43%). The overall 10-year survival rate was 63%. Conclusions. Bilateral synchronous breast cancer is often detected by mammography and is frequently of the same histologic type as the index cancer A better awareness of the risk for this disease may help detect bilateral breast cancer earlier.
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