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Adding Breast Ultrasound Screening to Mammography Reveals Cancers not Seen on Mammography Alone in Women at Increased Risk for Breast Cancer
Date:5/13/2008

PHILADELPHIA, May 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In women at increased risk for breast cancer, adding a screening ultrasound examination to routine mammography revealed 28 percent more cancers than mammography alone. However, the additional ultrasound exam substantially increased the rates of false positive findings and unnecessary biopsies, according to an American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN) study published in the May 14, 2008 issue of the Journal of American Medical Association.

This ACRIN study enrolled 2,809 women at increased risk for breast cancer at 21 sites and 2,637 of these women were eligible for analysis. The criteria used to determine an increased breast cancer risk included: participant age of 25 years or older, dense breasts, prior atypical breast biopsy, personal and/or or moderate family history of breast cancer. The study was made possible through funding from a novel private-public partnership between the Avon Foundation and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Forty women were diagnosed with breast cancer within 12 months of the initial screening. Mammography alone revealed 20 cancers (50 percent of all cancers detected) for a cancer detection rate of 7.6 women per 1,000 women screened, though one cancer was dismissed. The combination of mammography plus screening ultrasound revealed 31 cancers (78 percent of all cancers detected) for a cancer detection rate of 11.8 women per 1,000 women screened. Eight of the 40 cancers were not seen with either mammography or ultrasound at the time of the initial screen, but were discovered later during the twelve month period for a rate of three cancers missed per 1,000 women screened.

The risk of incurring an unnecessary biopsy due to a false positive exam result from the supplemental screening ultrasound was also substantially increased in this study. Mammography alone prompted an unnecessary biopsy for one in
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SOURCE American College of Radiology
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