What Causes Fat Necrosis And What Can Be Done When It Occurs


Asked by DL

What Causes Fat Necrosis And What Can Be Done When It Occurs

I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in March 2007. I had to do a mastectomy as the lump was under the nipple and as the nipple could not be spared, a mastectomy was recommended. Subsequently found that it was DCIS though my 16 lymph nodes were removed during surgery. The Mass was 6cms. Radiation and Tamoxifen was recommended. Radiation lasted 5 weeks daily. Tamoxifen for 5 years. Since doing radiation developed a cough and fever etc. This was sorted out eventually after doing a CT Scan and finding that the lungs were fine. About a month ago discovered a hardened, painful lump within the radiated section near the epi-gastric area. This was ultrasounded and a CT Scan and Fine Needle Biopsy done. Found to be benign and was advised this was "Fat Necrosis." Would like to know what causes fat necrosis and what can be done when it occurs as it is not getting any smaller and seems to be increasing in size.


DL, my understanding is that fat necrosis occurs when the tissue isn't receiving sufficient blood or oxygen. Or in your case could be the radiation just somehow killed it, like it killed the cancer cells. If it's getting larger, sounds like it might be continuing to die. What does your surgeon say? Or oncologist? I believe the only thing you can do is remove it; it won't come back to life. Suggest you make a dr. appt. to find out what's up, rather than just let it slide. Good luck- PJH

Answered by PJ Hamel