Per thousand women screened for breast cancer, screening mammography detects 4-5 cancers.
A new study shows that screening breast ultrasound performed after mammography on women with greater than 50% breast density detects an additional 3.4 cancers or high risk lesions per one thousand woman screened, a detection rate just under that of screening mammography alone for women with less dense breasts.
The study, conducted in conjunction with seven Connecticut radiology practices, included 19,745 women who had dense breasts and "normal" mammograms. Sixty-seven cancers were found, said Dr. Sarah Steenbergen, lead author of the study, who is now at Yale University in New Haven, CT. "Out of the available surgical reports, only one case had nodal involvement at the time of diagnosis.
Recent legislation in Connecticut mandates reporting of breast density on mammograms and recommending follow up screening ultrasound for women with greater than 50% breast density, said Dr. Steenbergen. The study was conducted, in part, to measure the outcome of this legislation and what we can hope to achieve with screening breast ultrasound, she said. Dr. Steenbergen will present her study at the ARRS annual meeting on April 18 in Washington, DC.