Secondary lymphedema of the breast

Case contributed by Chris O'Donnell


Swelling in the right axilla

Patient Data

Age: 65 years
Gender: Female

Malignant appearing lymph nodes in right axilla.  Biopsy = metastatic adenocarcinoma.


Subtle skin thickening only - no suspicious lesion

Gross level I, II and III axilliary lymphadenopathy

MRI breast performed to detect suspected breast malignancy


Marked asymmetrical right skin and breast parenchymal edema. Gross enhancing right axillary lymphadenopathy

Case Discussion

Biopsies of right breast revealed no malignancy including inflammatory cancer.  Breast changes are due to lymphatic obstruction by metastatic adenocarcinoma (unknown primary).

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