A new study conducted by scientists finds patients who had more frequent screening mammography had a significantly lower rate of lymph node positivity—or cancer cells in the lymph nodes—as compared to women who went longer intervals between screening mammography exams. Results of the study were presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).
In its earliest stages, breast cancer is confined to the breast and can be treated by surgically removing the cancer cells. As the disease progresses, breast cancer cells may spread to the lymph nodes and then to other areas of the body.
"On its pathway to other places in the body, the first place breast cancer typically drains into before metastasizing is the lymph nodes," said Lilian Wang, M.D., assistant professor of radiology at Northwestern University/Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Ill. "When breast cancer has spread into the lymph nodes, the patient is often treated both locally and systemically, with either hormone therapy, chemotherapy, trastuzumab or some combination of these therapies."