Recent research results were presented by Dr. Andrea Barrio (a breast surgeon from Bryn Mawr Hospital, Pennsylvania) at the American Society of Breast Surgeons annual meeting, Chicago May 2, 2013.
The research study, followed 337 women who had benign biopsies and had an abnormality on the mammogram that was explained by the pathology.
Researchers then determined if the time interval for follow up imaging made a difference in finding cancer. The current standard of care for women who have had a benign breast biopsy is to return for a followup mammogram 6-12 months later.
Out of 337 women, 169 had imaging repeated less than 12 months after their benign biopsy result. Only one breast cancer was identified in the group of 169. The cost of finding a missing cancer with the shorter interval follow-up was nearly $193,000 in this group.
Another 67 had follow up imaging 12 months or later after their biopsy. No cancers were found in this group of 67 women.
101 women did not have repeat imaging documented.
According to Barrio, the study findings support discontinuing follow up imaging less than 12 months after reporting a benign finding.
She did however qualify that this does not apply to all women. “Certain women would require six months follow-up. For example, a woman whose initial imaging findings were vague or not specific might be advised to get repeat imaging in less than a year”, she said.
Dr. Laura Kruper, director of Cooper Finkel Women’s Health Center and co-director of the breast cancer program at the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Duarte, Calif. said, “I think most women would be fine having repeat imaging in 12 months”, “but it should be done on a selective basis.”
“A doctor must take the whole patient into account”, she said, weighing such factors as family history and each woman’s views of the testing intervals.
Note: Research from Medical Meetings should be considered as preliminary and not final until the results have been published in a peer reviewed journal. Discuss your health needs with a qualified practitioner in your state or province.
From: Andrea Barrio, M.D., attending breast surgeon, Bryn Mawr Hospital, Bryn Mawr, Pa.; Laura Kruper, M.D., director, Cooper Finkel Women’s Health Center, and co-director, breast cancer program, City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Duarte, Calif.; American Society of Breast Surgeons annual meeting, Chicago May 2, 2013.