If a mass is palpated, the following characteristics should be described:
1. The size of the mass in centimeters and its position.
2. The shape of the mass.
3. The delimitation, referring to the borders of the mass. Is it well delimited, as with a cyst? Are the edges diffuse, as with a carcinoma?
4. The consistency, describing the ''hardness'' of the mass. A carcinoma is often stony hard. A cyst has some elastic qualities.
5. The mobility of the lesion. Is the lesion movable in the tissue that surrounds it? Benign tumors and cysts are freely mobile. Carcinomas are usually fixed to the skin, underlying muscle, or chest wall.
Figure 16-18 Method of breast palpation. A, ''Spokes of a wheel.' B, Concentric circles.
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