Screening for breast cancer: Current recommendations and future directions

Doug Knutson, Elizabeth Steiner

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    27 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Breast cancer is one of the most significant health concerns in the United States. Recent reviews have questioned the value of traditional breast cancer screening methods. Breast self-examination has been shown not to improve cancer-specific or all-cause mortality in large studies, but it is commonly advocated as a noninvasive screen. Patients who choose to perform self-examination should be trained in appropriate technique and followup. The contribution of the clinical breast examination to early detection is difficult to determine, but studies show that sensitivity is highly dependent on time taken to do the examination. Up to 10 percent of cancers are mammographically silent but evident on clinical breast examination. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends mammography for women older than 40 years who are in good health, but physicians should consider that sensitivity is lower for younger women. Digital mammography is somewhat more sensitive in younger women and women with dense breasts, but outcome studies are lacking. Although magnetic resonance imaging shows promise as a screening tool in some high-risk women, it is not currently recommended for general screening because of high false-positive rates and cost. The American Cancer Society recommends annual magnetic resonance imaging as an adjunct to screening mammography in high-risk women 30 years and older.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1660-1666
    Number of pages7
    JournalAmerican family physician
    Volume75
    Issue number11
    StatePublished - Jun 1 2007

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    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Family Practice

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