Case 21 – History


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Case 21

History of breast cancer and alcohol use


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Brief History

The patient was a middle-aged Caucasian woman status post left breast lumpectomy and radiation therapy for ductal carcinoma in situ three years prior with follow-up maintenance chemotherapy regimen; hypertension; and alcohol use disorder.

There was a change in medication approximately 2 months prior due to symptoms of abdominal pain and weight loss.

Once the medication was stopped, her symptoms resolved; however, the patient was noted to have 40 lb. weight loss overall prior to death.

The patient was normally functioning the night before her death and was found unresponsive in bed by her boyfriend after an unwitnessed cardiopulmonary arrest.


Next: External exam

Discussion Questions

1. Summarize the history.

2. What is the differential diagnosis of 40 lb. weight loss?

3. Why might this patient have died, based on the history?