Fast Five Quiz: Unusual Breast Cancer Presentations

Pavani Chalasani, MD, MPH; Maurie Markman, MD


March 26, 2020

Headache, visual field deficits, and diabetes insipidus are highly suggestive of pituitary pathology. These signs and symptoms may be the initial presentation of a metastatic pituitary tumor in patients with a history of breast cancer.

Neurocognitive impairment is a late effect of whole-brain radiation for treatment or prophylaxis of brain metastases; however, prophylactic whole-brain irradiation is not currently used to treat patients with breast cancer. Breast cancer metastases to the brain are associated with new-onset seizures and morning headaches; however, these symptoms are not specific for pituitary lesions. Intermittent headache with photophobia, nausea, and vomiting in the absence of objective signs of pathology is more suggestive of migraine than breast cancer metastasis.

Read more about metastatic cancer to the pituitary gland.


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