Preliminary reports from the following two studies were presented at the American Society of Breast Surgeons Annual Meeting, April 24th 2009:
At Duke University, 147 women at high risk were screened by three methods - mammograms, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and breast self-examination (BSE). The results indicate that all three were equal in detecting breast cancer.
Of the 24 masses that Duke study participants found using self-exam, 6 were cancer. Of the 8 abnormal mammograms, 2 turned out to be cancer, and of 23 abnormal MRI's, 6 were cancer. The proportions of cancers detected were about the same for each screening method.
The Duke researcher indicated that BSE can be used as a screen even in general populations. Commenting on the fact that 3 trials have not shown an impact on mortality with routine BSE, she pointed out that 2 of the 3 studies conducted in China and Russia, respectively — had low compliance.
In another study presented at the meeting, Harvard researchers looked retrospectively at 628 women with breast cancer under the age of 40. The investigators found that 71% of the breast cancers were initially detected by BSE. It should be noted that nearly all of the self-detected breast cancers were also later detected by MRI and/or mammography.
American Society of Breast Surgeons 10th Annual Meeting: Abstracts 9 and 20. Presented April 24, 2009.
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