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Mammography Detection of Breast Cancer Affects Mortality

And addition of magnetic resonance imaging to mammography may detect hidden cancers

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Detection of advanced breast cancers by mammography reduces mortality, and adding MRI to mammography can detect hidden breast cancers in high-risk women, according to two studies published online Nov. 2 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

In the first study, Philippe Autier, M.D., and colleagues from the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, reviewed eight clinical trials considered to be of acceptable methodologic quality examining mammography screening for breast cancer. They found that for each unit that the incidence of advanced breast cancer was reduced, there was an equal reduction in breast cancer mortality.

In the second study, Susan P. Weinstein, M.D., and colleagues from the University of Pennsylvania Health System in Philadelphia compared the ability of digital mammography, whole breast ultrasound, and contrast-enhanced MRI to detect breast cancer in 609 asymptomatic high-risk women who had screened negative by film screen mammogram. They found that cancer was detected in 18 patients. The cancer yield was 1 percent for film screen mammogram, 1.2 percent for digital mammography, 0.53 percent for whole breast ultrasound, and 2.1 percent for MRI.

"The addition of MRI to mammography in the high-risk group has the greatest potential to detect additional mammographically occult cancers," Weinstein and colleagues conclude.

Two authors of the second study reported receiving funding from Siemens Medical Solutions.

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