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TMJ pain as a presentation of metastatic breast cancer to the right mandibular condyle

Abstract

Cancer metastasis to the oral and maxillofacial region is uncommon, and metastasis to the mandibular condyle is considered rare. We present a case of a 56-year-old woman with a history of invasive ductal cell carcinoma of the right breast, 10 years in remission, presenting with a 6-month history of symptoms typical of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction. Imaging revealed an osteolytic lesion of her right TMJ and subsequent open biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer. Despite the rarity of metastatic cancer to the head and neck region, it is still important for clinicians from both medical and dental backgrounds to consider this differential diagnosis, particularly in patients with a history of hormonal positive subtype of breast cancer. Given that bony metastasis can manifest even 10 years after initial diagnosis, surveillance which includes examination of the head and neck region is important, and may include routine plain-film imaging surveillance with an orthopantomogram (OPG).

  • surgical oncology
  • head and neck cancer
  • breast cancer

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