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Review Suggests Breast Cancer Screens Should Be Personalized

New techniques may go beyond mammography and be useful for high-risk populations

FRIDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) -- Optimal breast cancer screening should be personalized for each woman and may go beyond mammography, according to a review published online April 4 in the American Journal of Medicine.

Jennifer S. Drukteinis, M.D., and colleagues from the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, Fla., note that while mammography remains the gold standard of breast cancer screening, sensitivity is low for women with dense breasts, the technique may not detect all cancers, and mammography has a high rate of false positives and unnecessary biopsies that increase cost, radiation dose, and patient anxiety.

The researchers point out that new technologies for screening include low-dose mammography, contrast-enhanced mammography, tomosynthesis, automated whole breast ultrasound, molecular imaging, and magnetic resonance imaging. These techniques can reduce radiation risk and evaluate blood flow in the breast, lower recall rates and increase specificity, and may be useful for high-risk populations and women with dense breasts.

"We propose that optimal breast cancer screening will ultimately require a personalized approach based on metrics of cancer risk with selective application of specific screening technologies best suited to the individual's age, risk, and breast density," the authors write.

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