Feature | January 08, 2015

Women with Dense Breasts Will Have to Look Beyond Ultrasound for Useful Supplemental Breast Cancer Screening

Dartmouth study informs national debate about screening

Women's Healthcare, Mammography Systems, Clinical Trial/Study

January 8, 2015 — Supplemental ultrasound screening for all U.S. women with dense breasts would substantially increase healthcare costs with little improvement in overall health, according to senior author Anna Tosteson, ScD, at Dartmouth Hitchcock's Norris Cotton Cancer Center and The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.

In a study released in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Tosteson and colleagues, including lead author Brian Sprague, M.D., provide evidence on the benefits and harms of adding ultrasound to breast cancer screening for women who have had a negative mammogram and also have dense breasts. The study will help inform the national legislative discussion about potential regulations requiring health providers to tell women if their mammogram shows that they have dense breasts.

Dense breasts are a risk factor for breast cancer and also make it more difficult to recognize potential problem areas amongst the dense tissue on screening mammograms. Tosteson explained the impact of the research. “Our study is timely because with existing breast density notification laws in some 19 states, and with national legislation pending, it is critical that we understand what approaches to supplemental breast cancer screening are most effective for women with dense breasts.”

The study estimates that, for every 10,000 women between the ages of 50-74 with dense breasts who receive supplemental ultrasound screening after a normal mammogram, about four breast cancer deaths would be prevented, but an extra 3,500 biopsies would be given to women who did not have breast cancer.

Tosteson and colleagues used data from the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium (BCSC) and three simulation models developed independently within the National Cancer Institute (NCI)-funded Cancer Intervention and Surveillance Modeling Network consortium to evaluate the health outcomes and expense of supplemental screening via ultrasound. Because 40 percent of women from the United States who are 40 to 74 years old are estimated to have dense breasts, the value of notifying them of their status and recommending next steps in screening for breast cancer is of national significance.

Tosteson and colleagues recently published a separate simulation modeling study using preliminary data on digital breast tomosynthesis that suggested the new technology may provide an effective way to screen women with dense breasts. Tosteson cautioned that, “Those projections were based on very limited data from U.S. populations and we are expanding these data through our ongoing NCI-sponsored research within the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium and the PROSPR (Population-based Research Optimizing Screening through Personalized Regimens) Consortium.”

Funding for this study was provided by the National Cancer Institute–funded BCSC and the National Cancer Institute. The collection of BCSC cancer and vital status data used in this study was supported in part by several state public health departments and cancer registries throughout the United States.

Study authors were Brian L. Sprague, Ph.D.; Natasha K. Stout, Ph.D.; Clyde Schechter, M.D., MA; Nicolien T. van Ravesteyn, Ph.D.; Mucahit Cevik, MS; Oguzhan Alagoz, Ph.D.; Christoph I. Lee, M.D., MSHS; Jeroen J. van den Broek, MS; Diana L. Miglioretti, Ph.D.; Jeanne S. Mandelblatt, M.D., MPH; Harry J. de Koning, M.D., Ph.D.; Karla Kerlikowske, M.D., MS; Constance D. Lehman, MD, Ph.D.; and Anna N. A. Tosteson, ScD.

For more information: www.breastscreening.cancer.gov

Related Content

Lunit Unveiling AI-Based Mammography Solution at RSNA 2018
News | Mammography | November 15, 2018
Medical artificial intelligence (AI) software company Lunit will be returning to the 104th Radiological Society of...
Breast Density Advocate Nancy M. Cappello Passes Away

Nancy Cappello. Image courtesy of AreYouDense.org.

News | Breast Density | November 15, 2018 | Jeff Zagoudis, Associate Editor
Imaging Technology News extends its condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Nancy M. Cappello, Ph.D., who...
Merit Medical Completes Acquisition of Cianna Medical
News | Women's Health | November 14, 2018
Disposable device manufacturer Merit Medical Systems Inc. announced the closing of a definitive merger agreement to...
The MOZART Supra Specimen Tomosynthesis System is the latest generation of 3-D imaging for breast cancer surgery.
News | Breast Imaging | November 08, 2018
KUBTEC announced the launch of a new innovation in the treatment of breast cancer. The Mozart Supra Specimen...
Feature | Breast Imaging | November 07, 2018 | By Jeff Zagoudis
Breast imaging technology has experienced major growth over the last decade or so, and a new report suggests the mark
Philips’ Compressed SENSE technology helps shorten MRI exams by eliminating redundant radiofrequency signals from the acquisition phase. The software reconstructs any missing  information to maintain high image quality. (Images courtesy of Philips/University Hospital Cologne)

Philips’ Compressed SENSE technology helps shorten MRI exams by eliminating redundant radiofrequency signals from the acquisition phase. The software reconstructs any missing information to maintain high image quality. (Images courtesy of Philips/University Hospital Cologne)

Feature | Breast Imaging | November 05, 2018 | By Jeff Zagoudis
The incidence of breast cancer is rising globally, with an estimated 1 in 8 women diagnosed in their lifetime and 40,...
Deaconess Health System Chooses Sectra as Enterprise Imaging Vendor
News | Enterprise Imaging | November 02, 2018
International medical imaging information technology (IT) and cybersecurity company Sectra will install its enterprise...
Volpara Enterprise Cloud Reaches 1 Million Mammograms Stored
News | Mammography | October 31, 2018
Volpara Solutions announced that the data stored in the Volpara Enterprise cloud now exceeds 1 million mammographic...