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Entries in Mammogram (11)

Sunday
Apr212013

Mammogram Rate Did Not Decline After Controversial Recommendation

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Despite a 2009 recommendation from the United States Preventative Services Task Force that women between the ages of 40 and 49 not undergo routine mammogram breast screenings, mammogram rates actually rose among women in that age group.

The recommendation from the USPSTF was a controversial one, because some experts argued that delayed screening would increase breast cancer deaths.

A recent study in the journal Cancer found that doctors and female patients have largely ignored the recommendation from the USPSTF. Researchers studied data from nearly 28,000 women and found that 53.6 percent of women had a mammogram in 2011, up from 51.9 percent in 2008. Within the population of 40 to 49 year old women, 47.5 percent had a mammogram in 2011, up from 46.1 percent in 2008.

The study did not determine why mammogram rates rose after the recommendation, but did point out that a number of prominent advocacy groups continued to recommend screenings for women between the age of 40 and 49 despite the USPSTF recommendation.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov152012

Mammogram Parties Deserve a Dose of Caution

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- “Mamm” parties are intended to make having a mammogram fun.  Most women don’t exactly view the test as a whimsical experience so offering a few refreshments and perhaps a spa treatment or two helps lighten the mood and makes the breast exam seem less intimidating.

Mindy Kiser recently attended a mamm party thrown by her employer, InTrust Bank of Wichita, Kan.  When she received the invitation for the medical test soirée a few weeks ago, she immediately RSVP’d “yes” because she had just turned 40 and was feeling concerned about her family history of breast cancer.

The InTrust event was women-only and held at the medical imaging clinic of a local hospital.  Kiser said some light hors d’oeuvres were served along with a chocolate fondue while she and 15 or so women were treated to complimentary paraffin-wax hand treatments, back rubs and beauty consultations.  By the time her name was called for testing, she was so mellow, submitting to a mammogram just didn’t seem like that big a deal.

“It turned into a nice, relaxing time hanging out with friends and co-workers,” she said.

Mamm parties aren’t usually run by a physician or nurse but a trained technician who administers the test exactly the way it’s typically done, using the exact same equipment.  You don’t learn your results instantly but Kiser said she received hers within a few days and the party organizer also filled out the necessary insurance paperwork for her and sent all of her information on to her doctor.

Sounds easy and convenient but, as Dr. Julie Silver, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and author of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope & Healing for Your Breast Cancer Journey, pointed out, there are pros and cons to attending such festivities.

“It may be a good way to improve compliance and make having a mammogram more enjoyable but not everyone should be invited,” she said.  “Not every woman needs a mammogram and they should only be done based on the appropriate guidelines.”

There is some disagreement among expert groups on when the typical woman should begin having mammograms and how often they should have them.

The American Cancer Society, as well as many physicians, health insurers and policymakers, recommends that all healthy women begin yearly mammogram testing at age 40.  But the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommended last year that women should begin mammogram testing at age 50 and only schedule them every two years until about age 74.

The Task Force made its recommendation based on the studies that showed giving mammograms to women every other year from ages 50 to 69 reduces breast cancer deaths by 16.5 percent over a lifetime.  If screening is started at age 40 and continued every other year, there’s a 19.5 percent lifetime reduction in deaths from breast cancer.  That 3 percent difference translates roughly to saving one woman’s life for every 1,000 who are screened but also results in hundreds of false positive tests and dozens of unnecessary procedures.

Rather than relying on a party planner -- or even general guidelines -- author Silver said the wisest approach a woman can take to mammogram testing is having a discussion with her doctor to devise an exam schedule that makes the most sense for her age group and personal history.  Doctors usually recommend that women who are at high risk of developing breast cancer be tested at an earlier age and more frequently than average.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct182011

Guiliana Rancic: Fertility Treatments and Breast Cancer

Dan MacMedan/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- Guiliana Rancic has attributed her breast cancer diagnosis with her efforts to get pregnant. But could her fertility treatments have contributed to her diagnosis?

Specialists in breast cancer and fertility say no. Studies so far have shown no increased risk in women undergoing fertility treatments and the occurrence of breast cancer.

"Right now there is no convincing evidence that IVF causes breast cancers," Dr. Jennifer Litton at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston told ABC News.

"We need further follow-up and long-term studies," she said, adding, "We are actively evaluating the effect of IVF on breast tissue."

Rancic, the 37-year-old E! and Style Network host, has long documented her struggle to have a baby on her Style Network reality TV show Giuliana and Bill, with husband Bill Rancic, the first Apprentice winner. Her first round of in-vitro fertilization ended in a miscarriage and the second failed to work.

It was during her third round of IVF that her doctor insisted she undergo a mammogram first, since pregnancy could accelerate the spread of any potential cancer. That's when a tumor was detected.

Rancic said her prognosis is good, having caught the cancer at an early stage. "I will be OK, because I found it early," she said.

She will undergo a lumpectomy later this week, followed by six weeks of radiation therapy.

"We are grateful that thanks to early detection, Giuliana is expected to have a swift and complete recovery," E! said in a statement to ABC News, while it applauded her decision to go public with her diagnosis, "in the hope that it will encourage women everywhere to take necessary and preventive measures."

Rancic, who already had embryos retrieved in her latest round of IVF, still plans to pursue pregnancy after her breast cancer treatment.

"I still want this baby," she told NBC's Today. "What's amazing is that baby will have saved my life. If I had gotten pregnant later down the line, I could have been a lot sicker."

Litton doesn't see a problem with Rancic trying to get pregnant.

"Finding cancers early with appropriate detection there are very high cure rates," Litton said. "And it does not take future motherhood off the table."

Dr. Jennifer Mersereau, director of the fertility preservation program at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said that for those who have had breast cancer and wish to become pregnant, studies are "very reassuring that there is not an increased risk of [cancer] recurrence."

As for their chances of conceiving afterward, Mersereau said there is not a whole lot of data. Age at the time of diagnosis, type of treatment and previous fertility history are all factors that can play a role.

Rancic said she was dragged "kicking and screaming" into her mammogram, something she had planned to do at 40. Like 85 percent of all women with breast cancer, she did not have a family history of it.

Rancic shared the following message with women: "A lot of us think we're invincible...but we have to start putting ourselves on the to-do list. I had a friend call me yesterday, and she said, 'I'm so sorry, can I do anything for you?' And I said, 'Just call your doctor tomorrow and make an appointment. That's what you could do for me.'"

Mersereau said women under 40 shouldn't rush out to get mammograms. Age 40 is still considered the baseline age. But women should tailor their screening depending on many factors, including their family history, Litton said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul052011

The Mammography Debate May Not Be Over

Comstock/Jupiterimages(MINNEAPOLIS) -- The question of whether women should or should not get a mammogram at a certain age may have been substantially answered by the June 28 study of 130,000 Swedish women, but how frequently they should get one is still a question up for debate.  

By using a computer model, the authors of a University of Minnesota study evaluated the cost effectiveness of various mammography screening schedules for women aged 40-79.  They found that screening every two years is cost effective for pretty much all women ages 50-79, but for those 40-49, it seemed effective only for those at higher risk of breast cancer -- such as women with dense breasts, a family history of breast cancer or with previous breast biopsies.  

Annual screening on the other hand, was not cost effective for women of any age.  The authors argue that mammography should therefore “be personalized on the basis of a women’s age, breast density, history of breast biopsy, family history … and beliefs about the potential benefit and harms of screening.”

The authors of an accompanying editorial aren’t as convinced that there is sufficient understanding of breast cancer risk factors, and they write that “further research is needed to overcome gaps in our knowledge of the underlying relationships between risk factors and the biology of breast cancer.”

The study's findings are published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun272011

Longest Mammography Study Shows Screening Saves Lives

Photodisc/Thinkstock(FALUN, Sweden) -- The longest-ever study of its kind confirms that mammography prevents deaths from breast cancer.
 
A study last year showed that mammography screening in women between 40 and 49 reduced breast cancer deaths by 30 percent.
 
Now a new and larger study in the journal Radiology expands on those results.
 
Over 130,000 Swedish women aged 40 to 74 -- including some from the earlier study -- were followed for almost 30 years, making this the longest mammography screening study ever done.
 
It found -- just like the 2010 study -- that mammography screening cut deaths from breast cancer by about 30 percent.
 
There was one big difference, though. The previous study found that, to save one life, up to 1,500 women had to be regularly screened.
 
Now that the data span almost three decades -- and include older women -- the number of women who need to be screened to save one life has dropped to between 400 and 500.
 
One expert says that's because screening in older women is more effective -- and cancer is more prevalent in older women.   
 
One note of caution: not all studies of mammography have produced such impressive results.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr292011

Debate Continues: Should Women in Their 40s Be Regularly Screened for Breast Cancer?

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The debate about whether or not it is beneficial for American women in their 40s to have regular breast cancer screenings has started up again, HealthDay News reports.

One of two studies released Friday and presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Breast Surgeons in Washington, D.C., found that mammograms detected smaller breast cancers in women 40 to 49. They also observed a reduced chance of spread to the lymph nodes with the mammography screening rather than with clinical breast exams.

But the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued guidance in 2009, which advises that women not bearing an increased risk of breast cancer do not need regular mammography screening until they have reached age 50.  The USPSTF adds that women in their 40s should undergo screening on an individual-basis after discussing it with their doctor.

In the other study presented at the meeting, researchers analyzed the medical data of nearly 47,000 American women with breast cancer.  They found that only 22.6 percent of these women were in the 40 to 49 age group, while 77.4 percent were between the ages of 50 and 74.

What these researchers highlighted was that the larger portion of the women in the 40 to 49 age group with early cancer were ethnic minorities.  Therefore, one researcher said, "if you exlude younger women from screening mammography, it could disproportionately affect minority women."

While each study's findings create more questions for debate, one expert who reviewed but was not involved in either study, Dr. Otis Brawley weighed in saying any research presented at medical meetings should be "viewed with a grain of salt," according to HealthDay News.  Brawley said that because the research is in such early stages, they have not been reviewed and debated heavily by other medical experts and should be considered as tentative research.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb222011

Study Calls for Radiologists to Read More Mammograms

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- Radiologists in the U.S. are required by the Food and Drug Administration to interpret 960 mammograms in a two-year time span, but a new study published Tuesday in Radiology suggests that may not be enough.

The study, conducted at the Group Health Research Institute, evaluated the screening performance of 120 radiologists who interpreted almost 800,000 mammograms between 2002 and 2006.  It found that radiologists who interpreted a high volume of mammograms turned out to be better “readers.”

More specifically, radiologists who read 1,500 mammograms or more per year had lower false-positive rates, meaning they sent fewer women for unnecessary follow up tests for non-cancerous abnormalities.

In light of this discovery, the study's authors concluded that "U.S. volume requirements could be increased to 1,000 or 1,5000 screening mammograms per year… which would optimize sensitivity and false positive rates."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb112011

FDA Approves 1st 3-D Mammography Device

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first X-ray mammography device that will produce three-dimensional images of the breast for cancer screening and diagnosis.

The Selenia Dimensions System is an alternative to the conventional two-dimensional one, which causes about 10 percent of women to undergo additional screening after an initial test, only to find that apparent abnormalities were, in fact, noncancerous.

The Selenia Dimensions System will be capable of producing both 2D and 3D images and will help physicians "more accurately detect and diagnose breast cancer," the FDA stated in a release.

"Physicians can now access this unique and innovative 3D technology that could significantly enhance existing diagnosis and treatment approaches," said Jefferey Shuren, M.D., J.D., director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

The National Cancer Institutes suggests that women over the age of 40 have a mammogram every one-to-two years.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov242010

3D Mammogram on the Brink of FDA Approval 

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(BOSTON, Mass.) -- A new three-dimensional mammogram device has cleared another hurdle towards approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to manufacturer Hologic, the device can more precisely detect breast lesions and reduce the number of follow-up breast cancer screenings when used in conjunction with conventional digital mammograms.

"This is a major advance that we have been working on for years," said Dr. Daniel Kopans, director of the breast imaging center at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, which holds the patent to the device. "It will aid in detecting more cancers earlier, and reduce the false positive callbacks."

The FDA panel that reviewed the device sent Hologic an initial letter accepting the device into its next phase for review. And while experts agreed more precise methods of detecting breast cancer are necessary, many said there's not yet enough evidence to show whether the new device can save lives.

"The real issue here is not which test can find the most cancers, it's about which test can find the right cancers," said Dr. Gilbert Welch, professor of medicine and community and family medicine at Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, N.H. "Just because you find more and more, more of what you're finding might not be important."

Welsh said he worried earlier detection of benign masses that might not develop into cancer could result in unnecessary treatment in otherwise healthy women.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep292010

Mammogram Study Reignites Controversy on Breast Cancer Screening

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A new study seems poised to reignite the debate over who should receive mammograms and when. The Swedish study found that starting women on mammography at age 40 rather than age 50 was associated with a 26-percent reduction in risk of death from breast cancer -- a finding that raises new questions about what women 40-49 should do about mammography screening. The study comes just a week after another study, also from a Scandinavian country, found that mammography screening contributed only a 10 percent reduction in mortality.  Researchers led by Hakan Jonsson of Umea University in Umea, Sweden reported the findings at a press briefing in advance of a presentation at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Breast Cancer Symposium.  The debate erupted last year when the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended that women under age 50 don't need routine screening mammography.  USPSTF's earlier stance was in accord with American Cancer Society guidelines suggesting mammography every one to two years for all women age 40 and older.

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