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Adding ultrasound screening to mammography brings benefits, risks
Date:5/13/2008

ammography would reveal more cancers than mammography alone. Ultrasound screening uses high frequency sound waves to depict and detect tumors, while mammography the current gold standard for breast cancer screening uses low-dose X-ray.

During the first year of screening, mammography alone revealed breast cancers at a rate of 8 for every 1,000 women screened and resulted in 25 women for every 1,000 screened having an unnecessary biopsy due to a false positive exam. The combination of mammography and ultra-sound revealed breast cancers at a rate of 12 for every 1,000 women screened and resulted in 93 women for every 1,000 screened having an unnecessary biopsy due to a false positive exam.

So the ultrasound exam caught cancer in four additional women. But the exam also caused false positive findings in 68 additional women for every 1,000 screened a four-fold increase.

This false positive rate is significant, Blume said. And the combination of screening exams, both mammography and ultrasound, still missed one out of every five cancers. So the trial shows that ultrasound is not a silver bullet for breast cancer screening.


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Contact: Wendy Lawton
Wendy_Lawton@brown.edu
401-863-1862
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert

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