[ Monash University ]

Museum of Pathology



Clinical History

A woman of 41 with a breast lump which had grown rapidly over 4 months on examination, had a hot, red breast which contained a mass 12 cm in diameter. Axillary nodes were enlarged and hard. A modified radical mastectomy was followed by a split skin graft, deep X-ray therapy and bilateral oophorectomy. There was a satisfactory post-operative recovery.


The specimen consists of a portion of enlarged breast and underlying pectoralis major, mounted to display the cut surface. In the adipose tissue 2 cm beneath the skin is a large cavity 10 cm in maximum diameter which on the right hand side contains an irregular tumour mass 6 cm in diameter adherent to pectoralis major. The cut surface of this lobulated tumour is pinkish grey and has a fine "cotton-wool" structure. In some areas the cavity is lined by tumour while other areas are lined by trabeculated fibrosis tissue. This is a cystic carcinoma of the breast. Axillary lymph nodes were involved.