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Short-Term Follow-Up Enough for Some Benign Breast Lumps

Biopsy not always needed for young women's lesions with benign imaging features

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Women with palpable breast lesions with benign imaging features can be given short-term follow-up and have similar outcomes to those who undergo biopsy, according to a study in the December issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Jennifer A. Harvey, M.D., of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and colleagues conducted a study of 320 women who had 375 palpable breast lesions, of which 186 were evaluated using mammography and ultrasound, while 189 were evaluated only with ultrasound.

In all, 68.8 percent of masses were only identified with ultrasound, 73.3 percent were oval, 81.2 percent had the same density as normal breast tissue on mammograms, 90.3 percent were hypoechoic and 81.1 percent were thought to be fibroadenoma, the researchers found. Of the 85 lesions (22.7 percent of the total) that were biopsied, one revealed ductal carcinoma in situ; and, after a mean 2.7 years of follow-up, 26 lesions had grown, of which 24 were biopsied and no cancer was detected.

"Most of the women in our study chose imaging follow-up over immediate biopsy. The cost of follow-up of these palpable masses that have benign features is lower than that of immediate biopsy, even when subsequent biopsy due to interval growth of 7 percent of lesions is taken into account," the authors write. "Application of the results of our study may reduce the number of biopsies that result in benign findings."

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