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Case report: Metastatic breast cancer presenting as a hypopharyngeal mass

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March 25, 2013
by Rodrigo Bayon, MD; Sandra K. Banas, MD; Barry L. Wenig, MD, MPH


Although carcinoma of the breast has a propensity toward distant metastasis, metastasis to the head and neck is uncommon. Most patients with metastasis to the head and neck region present with cervical lymphadenopathy; however, spread to the upper aerodigestive tract has been described previously. We present a case of a patient found to have a pedunculated mass in her right piriform sinus. When she swallowed, the mass would completely prolapse into the esophagus and cause symptoms. Subsequent workup revealed widespread metastatic disease, for which the patient was treated with chemoradiotherapy. Microlaryngoscopy with excision of the mass was performed for palliation of her dysphagia, and a diagnosis of metastatic breast carcinoma was obtained. The patient healed well from the excision and went on to be treated for the metastatic breast cancer. To our knowledge, our report represents the first case of metastatic breast carcinoma presenting as severe dysphagia.

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