Experts in the United States said the study raises many questions.
"The authors should be applauded for carrying out such a complex study in a concerted effort," said Dr. Aye Moe Thu Ma, director of breast surgery at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. The study "brings into question the current National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines on the use of mammograms for BRCA patients as early at 25 years of age," she added.
Ma also agreed that for patients who carry the BRCA gene mutations and who have not undergone mastectomy, "they may be best to be screened with MRI if the patients are younger than 30 and after discussing the risks and benefits of the MRI with the patient."
Another breast cancer specialist agreed that screening these patients may require a tailored approach.
"Women with BRCA mutations should adhere to a screening program designed specifically for them based on personal and family risk factors, in addition to accounting for their BRCA status, so that they may maximize benefit derived from screening and minimize any potential risks," said Dr. Eva Chalas, chief of clinical cancer services at Winthrop University Hospital, in Mineola, N.Y.
And Ma also stressed that, "this study is focused on a small group of high-risk patients who are sensitive to radiation, and does not apply to the general public."
Experts currently disagree on the recommended frequency of screenings and the intervals between them. In 2009, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force ignited debate when it recommended screening mammograms every two years for women ages 50 to 74. It advised women in their 40s at average risk of breast cancer to discuss the pros and cons with their doctors and then decide about the value of screening. Other organizations, including the America
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