Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed malignancy among American women. It is the second most common cause of cancer death. Genetic analysis using comparative genetic hybridization (CGH) has shown evidence that the majority of breast cancers, approximately 85%, begin in the ductal epithelium with normal cells progressing to atypia and finally to carcinoma. Mammary ductoscopy, also referred to as the intraductal approach, is a new tool that allows direct visualization of the breast ductal system. It enables one to sample the ductal epithelium and may allow identification of early changes cytologically as well as potentially play an important role in aiding surgical excision. This may aid in detection of breast masses long before they are palpable or visible via mammography. Mammary ductoscopy may have a role in the evaluation of women with nipple discharge, high-risk women, or limiting the amount of tissue removed in breast conservation surgery for cancer.
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