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From Bennington, Vermont, USA:

I am a 36-year old woman with type 1 diabetes, diagnosed 26 years ago. I have had two negative surgical breast biopsies in the past 6 years. A recent mammography revealed another possible lump. In the meantime, I have read several articles in diabetes publications describing a rare condition in women with Type 1 called diabetic mastopathy. These articles cited a recently completed study at the Mayo Clinic which identified characteristics of this condition. Do you have any information about diabetic mastopathy, or can you direct me to someone who might?


I found several references to diabetic mastopathy on the Internet:

  1. Type 1 Women Often Develop Lumps in Breasts. "A new study at the Mayo Clinic suggests that women with Type 1 diabetes should understand that they are at increased risk for this little-known complication. In a review of the medical records of type 1 women, researcher Yogish Kudva of the noted medical facility in Rochester, MN, discovered that about one in 15 develops lumps in breasts, or diabetic mastopathy.

    Women at highest risk are those in their late 30's, women who have a history of poor blood sugar control, and those with retinopathy. The lumps of diabetic mastopathy are non cancerous, and after seven years of follow-up of the women in his study, none have developed breast cancer, so Dr. Kudva doubts that breast lumps of diabetes progress to cancer.

    However, diabetic mastopathy can cause problems. Most of the women in the study had had at least one surgical biopsy to rule out breast cancer. In addition lumps in breasts make it more difficult to feel a tumor."

  2. Diabetic Mastopathy. "A Mayo team has diagnosed diabetic mastopathy in 16 women with poor glucose control who were seen for recurrent dominant breast nodules. All but one also had diabetic retinopathy....

    In its report to the American Diabetes Association meeting here, the Mayo team said that none of the patients has developed breast cancer after an average of seven years' follow-up. The infiltrates are mostly B cells, and the researchers suspect another autoimmune disorder."

  3. ADA Meeting News: Researchers Need to Learn More About Lumps in Breasts. "Sunday, June 22, 1997: Some women with type I diabetes may develop painless lumps in their breasts, according to research presented today in Boston at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association. The condition, known as diabetic mastopathy, is so rare that many diabetes specialists know little about it."

  4. Diabetes Forecast also had an article discussing the problem: "Women with diabetes and their doctors need to know about this problem--and that it does not appear to increase breast cancer risk--to help ease anxiety when nodules arise," explained Timothy O'Brien, MD, a senior associate consultant in endocrinology at the Mayo Clinic, who took part in a new study of this condition. "Nonetheless, every nodule must be fully evaluated, often with a biopsy, to make sure it is not malignant."

(Please note: these are summaries of the articles; more detail can be found at the original webpages.)


Original posting 18 Apr 1998
Posted to Complications and Other Illnesses


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