Breast Cancer Screening – Risk Assessment and Breast Density

23 August 2016 A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine evaluated screening mammography taking into account breast density and breast cancer risk. For women age 50-74, the conclusion of the authors was that for women of average risk with low breast density (fatty or scattered fibroglandular), triennial (every 3 year) mammography screening averted the same number of breast cancer…

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Did a 3D Mammogram Save Her Life?

An Oklahoma mayor underwent a 3D mammogram (tomosynthesis) as part of a hospital promotion. She was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in-situ (DCIS, also known as Stage 0 breast cancer) and she stated that the study “…saved my life.” She also recommended that women make sure to obtain a 3D mammogram. The story noted that tomosynthesis “virtually eliminates” the need for…

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Is Dense Breast Notification Too Dense?

26 April 2016 A growing number of states have enacted so-called “dense breast” legislation – requirements that radiology facilities inform patients if they have dense breast tissue, which may limit the sensitivity of mammography. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association evaluated the dense breast legislation for 23 states who have these requirements. They evaluated the…

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The Final (???) Word on Screening Mammography

17 January 2016 In October 2015, the American Cancer Society (ACS) updated their screening mammography guidelines, raising a lot of questions and concerns as annual mammograms were no longer recommended for all women starting at age 40. The United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) released new guidelines on screening mammography last week. The new USPSTF guidelines recommend an individualized risk-based approach for women age…

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Are False Alarms Cause for Alarm?

5 December 2015 Approximately 60% of women undergoing annual screening mammography over a 10 year period will be called back for additional views. Often these are in women with dense breast tissue, which can make it more challenging to read mammograms. Many of these callbacks are false alarms, also known as false positives – the abnormality may resolve with additional…

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Breast Density and Breast Cancer Risk

3 December 2015 Dense breast tissue has been linked to an increased risk of developing breast cancer, although studies report a variable influence of breast density compared to other known risk factors.  A new study published in the journal European Radiology calls into question the association of breast density and breast cancer. Researchers evaluated MRI scans to determine breast density…

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American Cancer Society Updates Screening Mammography Guidelines

25 October 2015 The American Cancer Society has issued new guidelines for screening mammography, and they are sparking a lot of discussion. Previous guidelines, which have been in place since 2003, have recommended: Annual mammography beginning at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health Clinical breast exam (CBE) [exam by a physician] about every 3…

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Preoperative Breast MRI

24 September 2015 It is not uncommon that after a breast cancer diagnosis, a breast MRI is recommended. We know that there are limitations to mammography – it might not show everything of concern, especially in women with dense breast tissue. The idea behind preoperative MRI is that if there are other lesions, better to know about them and determine…

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Do I Need a Mammogram? (Part II)

20 July 2015 This is not a new question, and I promise there will be many parts to this story. The latest: Breast Cancer Screening, Incidence and Mortality Across US Counties, published in the July 2015 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine. The authors of the study noted that rates of early breast cancer detection have increased with the widespread use…

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Do I Need a Mammogram?

17 February 2014 Spoiler alert – this will hardly be the last word on the screening mammography debate… Last week, the British Medical Journal published a Canadian Study which concluded that mammograms are not effective in reducing breast cancer deaths. The study involved 90,000 women. However, there are some major flaws in the study, and “rapid response” letters to the…

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