Strong family history and dense breast tissue were commonly absent in women between the ages of 40 and 49, reveals the study of breast cancers detected with screening mammography. Results of the study were presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).
"Screening recommendations for this age group continue to be debated," said Bonnie N. Joe, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in residence and chief of women's imaging at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). "Recent publications have suggested risk-based screening based on family history and breast density. However, our study shows that this approach would miss a significant percentage of invasive cancers and could potentially be dangerous."
The retrospective study, conducted at UCSF, included 136 women between the ages of 40 and 49 with breast cancer identified by screening mammography between 1997 and 2012. Symptomatic patients undergoing diagnostic mammography and those with a personal history of breast cancer were excluded from the study. Patient family history, breast density, type of malignancy, lymph node status, and tumor receptor status were recorded.
"Notably, we found that almost 90 percent of the invasive cancers we would have missed using risk-based triage had positive receptor status, meaning they were very treatable and worth finding early," Dr. Joe said.