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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

40 women in this study. The combination of mammography and ultrasound screening prompted an unnecessary biopsy for one in 10 women, or four times more women having an unnecessary biopsy.

According to the study's principal investigator, Wendie Berg, M.D., Ph.D., a radiologist specializing in breast imaging with American Radiology Services at Johns Hopkins Green Spring, Lutherville, Md., "The study results confirm that screening ultrasound in combination with mammography detects more cancers than mammography alone in women at increased risk for breast cancer. However, this benefit comes with the added risk of a false positive result. If we are going to offer screening ultrasound, we need to inform women of the substantial risk of receiving an unnecessary biopsy."

The study's statistician, Jeffrey Blume, Ph.D., associate professor and deputy director of the ACRIN Biostatistics and Data Management Center at Brown University in Providence, R.I., emphasized the reliability of these results: "Rigorous, well controlled trials like this one - where participants uniformly undergo both screening exams in a randomized order and investigators interpreting one exam are masked to the results of the other - yield the highest level of medical evidence. A study as large as this one could not have been completed without the ongoing support and cooperation of NCI and Avon."

The American Cancer Society recently recommended that certain women at very high risk for breast cancer be screened with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in addition to mammography, and these results do not change that recommendation. Women who do have screening MRI do not need screening ultrasound. Women who are at increased risk, who are currently undergoing mammographic screening and are not recommended for MRI, or for whom it is not available or not tolerated, may wish to consider adding screening ultrasound. Women should talk with their doctor about their breast cancer risk profile a
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SOURCE American College of Radiology
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