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Risk factors may inform breast cancer screening
Date:4/30/2012

g mammograms every two years for women 40-49 with a twofold increase in breast cancer risk are similar to those for average-risk women who start biennial screening at age 50. For annual screening, a fourfold increased risk level is where the benefits outweigh the harms for starting screening at age 40. There were only small differences in benefits using digital compared to plain-film mammography, but digital screening generates many more false-positive results than does plain film.

"Our population models show what can be expected across populations with different risk levels," Dr. Mandelblatt said. "The models cannot determine outcomes for individual women. Policymakers can use them to inform guidelines for populations."

Risk factors for breast cancer for women aged 40 to 49 years

The first author of the other article is Heidi D. Nelson, MD, MPH, an investigator at the Oregon Evidence-based Practice Center at Oregon Health & Science University and Providence Cancer Center in Portland. With Drs. Buist and Miglioretti and colleagues including Ellen O'Meara, PhD, a research associate at Group Health Research Institute, Dr. Nelson conducted a meta-analysisa rigorous review of previous studiesfrom 66 publications selected for their relevance and quality. They also conducted new analyses using BCSC data on more than 380,000 women who were 40-49 when they had a screening mammogram from 1994 to 2010, to see how family history and other risk factors affected breast cancer risk for women in their 40s.

Results indicated:

  • having a first-degree relative with breast cancer, especially one under age 50, increased risk by more than twofold
  • having extremely dense breasts on a mammogram increased risk by more than twofold
  • having a previous benign breast biopsy, a second-degree relative with breast cancer, or breast tissue that was heterogeneously dense on a mammogram increased risk between 1.5-fold and twofold.
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Contact: Rebecca Hughes
hughes.r@ghc.org
206-287-2055
Group Health Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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