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Moffitt Cancer Center researchers discuss new frontiers in breast cancer screening
Date:4/4/2013

mammography is highly variable, the authors point out. The effectiveness for women with fatty breast tissue is as high as 98 percent while the effectiveness for women with dense breasts can be as low as 36 percent. Women who undergo annual mammography may still present with cancers found only on physical examination, they said. Additionally, some studies suggest that radiation exposure may contribute to an increase in breast cancer incidence in high-risk populations.

More successful breast cancer screening requires increased sensitivity and specificity while limiting costs and radiation burden, the authors recommended.

They also suggested that optimal patient care will require a new screening paradigm with patient-specific strategies tailored to risk based on family history, age, genetic profiles and breast density.

"The sensitivity of mammography is inversely proportional to breast density," explained Mooney. "Owing to decreased sensitivity in women with dense breast tissue, but with attention to radiation concerns and a high rate of false positives, breast imagers are adapting with new technologies."

According to the authors, those new technologies include low-dose mammography, contrast-enhanced mammography (evaluates blood flow in the breast), automated whole breast ultrasound, molecular imaging, MRI and tomosynthesis (multiple mammographic "slices" through the breast, similar to a CT scan).

"Decreases in mortality have not been proved with any of these emerging technologies," Drukteinis said. "Once more, it is unlikely that any of these new technologies will replace mammography. The role of these new technologies is primarily as an adjunct to screening mammography and can be used in a combination tailored to the individual's risk factors and breast density, with the goal of maximizing sensitivity and specificity."

"Given the heterogeneity of the human population, a perfect imaging technology for breast ca
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Contact: Kim Polacek
kim.polacek@moffitt.org
813-745-7408
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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