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High rate of false-positives with annual mammogram
Date:10/17/2011

hat study looked at nearly 330,000 women between the ages of 40 and 79. The data was pooled from the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium, a collaborative network of mammography registries in the United States.

The researchers found that overall cancer detection rates were similar for both methods. However, digital screening may be better for women between the ages of 40 and 49 who are more likely to have extremely dense breasts associated with lower cancer detection. The study also found new evidence that digital mammography is better at detecting estrogen receptor-negative tumors, particularly in women aged 40 to 49 years.

Breast cancer may not be detected, the researchers caution, if a radiologist fails to identify a visible breast lesion or if a tumor is obscured by normal breast tissue. Additionally, an imperceptible tumor may grow quickly and be discovered through a clinical exam prior to the next mammogram.

Digital mammography was developed in part to improve the detection of breast cancer in dense breasts by improving the ability to distinguish normal dense breast tissue from isodense invasive cancer.

The authors note that for every 10,000 women 40 to 49 who are given digital mammograms, two more cases of cancer will be identified for every 170 additional false-positive examinations.

Healthy women will undergo 12 screening mammograms in their lifetimes if they follow U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidelines that recommend biennial screening starting at age 50 and continuing until age 74. This is controversial, with many practitioners recommending annual mammograms.

If women start biennial screening at 40, they will undergo 17 exams; those who start annual screenings at age 40 will undergo 34 exams.

For the false-positive study, the researchers found that after a decade of annual screening, a majority of women will receive at least one false-positive result, and 7 to 9 percent will receive
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Contact: Elizabeth Fernandez
elizabeth.fernandez@ucsf.edu
415-502-6397
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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