Breast cancer patients who receive breast-conserving therapy and radiation do not need a follow-up mammogram until 12 months after radiation, despite current American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines that recommend follow-up mammograms at between six and 12 months after radiation, according to a November 15 study in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics, the official journal of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology.
According to the American Cancer Society, more than 182,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, and many of these women will choose to undergo a lumpectomy and radiation therapy as their course of treatment, which has been shown to produce similar survival outcomes to a mastectomy. Mammography has been established as a crucial part of post-treatment surveillance for patients undergoing breast-conserving therapy, but the optimal timing of the initial mammogram is not clear.
Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine, Department of Radiation Oncology, Department of Pathology, and Department of Radiology and at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine sought to determine if the recommended timeframe for a post-treatment mammogram offers any benefit to patients.
The most recent NCCN guidelines proposes a follow-up mammogram six to 12 months after radiation, and according to 2006 guidelines, ASCO recommends a follow-up mammogram one year after the initial mammogram that leads to diagnosis, but no earlier than six months after radiation. Accounting for the time after the initial diagnostic mammogram to have a biopsy, surgery and radiation therapy, following the ASCO guidelines would likely result in mammograms being done six to nine months after the completion of radiation.
The researchers looked at 408 patients who were treated with breast-conserving th
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American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology