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Surgeons' unanimous consensus: Needle biopsy is gold standard for breast cancer diagnosis
Date:10/7/2009

Newport Beach, Calif. October 5, 2009 A special report published in the October issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons indicates that an alarming 35% of initial diagnostic breast biopsies in the United States are still being done using unnecessary open surgical techniques. This in spite of the fact that it costs as much as three times more than the much less invasive and equally accurate needle biopsy technique.

A panel of leading breast disease specialists recently convened at the International Consensus Conference on Image Detected Breast Cancer III and unanimously agreed that percutaneous needle biopsy represents "best practice" and should be the "gold standard" for initial diagnosis of breast abnormalities. The recommendations were reached after building clinical evidence since the preceeding Consensus Conferences in 2001 and 2005, yet little progress is being made in reducing the number of open surgical biopsies being performed nationwide.

"In spite of considerable agreement in the medical literature and national recommendations published by industry thought leaders such as the American College of Surgeons and the American Society of Breast Surgeons, there was only a small decrease in the number of surgical biopsies since our last conference four years ago. 1,2 This slow rate of adoption is appalling considering the overwhelming benefits of needle biopsy versus open surgery for the initial diagnosis of breast cancer," said Dr. Melvin Silverstein, medical director of Hoag Breast Care Center; clinical professor of surgery at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California; and chair of the 2001, 2005 and 2009 Consensus Conferences. "Considering only 15-20% of abnormalities found by mammography turn out to be cancer, this means a significant number of women with benign lesions are undergoing unneeded diagnostic surgery when needle biopsy is equally effective for discovering cancer."

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Contact: Carolyn Hawley
chawley@pnlifesciences.com
619-849-5375
Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian
Source:Eurekalert

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