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Breast cancer is thankfully not the most common breast complaint that brings a woman to the attention of a surgeon. Although 12% of American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, more than 70% will be affected by a benign breast disease ranging from mastalgia to breast cysts to nipple discharge, among others. Breast cancer is often treated by a team of specialists who all benefit from the ability to present these patients at a multidisciplinary breast conference, but there is no equivalent structure for the treatment of benign diseases. Often, evaluation and management fall entirely to the surgeon.
This issue of Surgical Clinics is intended for that surgeon. The contributors are from diverse backgrounds, including high-volume surgeons from community medical centers and professors at academic institutions. Some of their contributions overlap and even provide different viewpoints on the same issues. This is by design. Here is the conversation we all wish we could have with colleagues on often challenging cases of benign breast diseases, their diagnosis, and management. This is the multidisciplinary tumor board for the times when there is no tumor.
My sincere thanks to the authors who rose to the challenge of having this conversation in print. Their care in making this publication educational, readable, and dare I say even enjoyable is so appreciated. I hope that the reader finds their insights and advice useful in caring for their patients who present with these benign breast diseases.