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Ultrasound Better Than Biopsy for Breast Examination

sue and were classified as probably benign at ultrasound. After initial imaging with mammography and ultrasound, follow-up was performed in 445 masses. The other three masses were biopsied and shown to be benign.

At follow-up every six months over two to five years, 442 of the 445 masses remained stable. Two masses increased but were found benign at biopsy, and one mass became palpable, and cancer was diagnosed at biopsy.

The findings indicate an overall negative predictive value of 99.8 percent. In other words, only one in 445 masses (0.2 percent) developed into cancer. The results indicate that routine follow-up with ultrasound is a safe alternative to biopsy in cases where the breast lesion is classified as probably benign.

More studies are needed to define the role of ultrasound in breast cancer screening, Dr. Graf said. However, these findings suggest that the negative effects of incidental findings may be limited principally to patient anxiety and the cost of follow-up imaging, as opposed to conducting a large number of benign biopsies.


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