News | October 01, 2014

Opportunities to Reduce Patient Burden Associated With Breast Cancer Screening

Series of articles illustrate the need for a more tailored approach to breast cancer awareness, education and screening

Journal of Women's Health, published monthly, is a core multidisciplinary journal dedicated to the diseases and conditions that hold greater risk for or are more prevalent among women.

New technology and better screening strategies can lower the rate of false-positive results, which impose a substantial financial and psychological burden on women. The many misperceptions about breast cancer screening options and risks, the benefits and costs of screening, and the need for new approaches and better education are discussed in a series of articles in a supplement to Journal of Women's Health, a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The supplement is available free on the Journal of Women's Health website at

In the article "The Patient Burden of Screening Mammography Recall," the authors reported that among more than 1.7 million women aged 40-75 who underwent screening mammography and were not diagnosed with breast cancer, 15 percent were recalled for further testing. The cumulative risk of a false-positive result after 10 years of annual screening mammograms is an estimated 61 percent. Coauthors Matthew Alcusky, PharmD, Janice Clarke, RN, and Alexandria Skoufalos, EdD, Jefferson School of Population Health; Liane Philpotts, MD, FSBI, Yale University School of Medicine; and Machaon Bonafede, Ph.D., MPH, Truven Health Analytics, evaluated the direct cost burden of recall, the indirect costs associated with missed work time, travel, and substitute caregivers, for example, and the physical or psychological effects of a false-positive result, which may include unnecessary anxiety and reduced quality of life.

In an accompanying review article on "Understanding Patient Options, Utilization Patterns and Burdens Associated with Breast Cancer Screening," authors Susan C. Harvey, M.D., Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions; Sharon Mass, M.D., FACOG, Morristown Obstetrics and Gynecology Associates; and Ashok Vegesna, PharmD, Janice Clarke, RN, and Alexandria Skoufalos, EdD, Jefferson School of Population Health, attributed much of the confusion women face in making informed decisions about breast cancer screening and recall options to a lack of consensus among the organizations developing screening guidelines and the mixed messages they deliver. The authors called for a more thoughtful approach to breast cancer screening and research that takes into account the tangible and intangible costs that women now bear.

"The articles in this supplement are timely and reveal surprisingly complex issues," said Susan C. Harvey, M.D., in her editorial, "The Charge and the Challenges of Breast Cancer Screening." Collectively, the articles "illustrate the need for a more tailored approach to breast cancer awareness, education, and screening. The goal is to make appropriate screening and diagnosis easier on women and more responsive to the changing face of value-based health care."

"The direct and indirect cost burden of inconclusive mammography screenings and recalls is significant and indicates a need for new approaches to breast cancer screening," said Susan G. Kornstein, M.D., editor-in-chief of Journal of Women's Health, executive director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women's Health, Richmond, Va., and president of the Academy of Women's Health.


Related Content

Digital Mammography Increases Breast Cancer Detection
News | Mammography | January 16, 2019
The shift from film to digital mammography increased the detection of breast cancer by 14 percent overall in the United...
Artificial Intelligence Used in Clinical Practice to Measure Breast Density
News | Artificial Intelligence | January 15, 2019
An artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm measures breast density at the level of an experienced mammographer,...
Sponsored Content | Videos | Breast Imaging | January 11, 2019
Supplemental screening with ABUS helps personalize breast care for women with dense breasts and offers advanced...
Electronic Brachytherapy Effective in Long-Term Study of 1,000 Early-Stage Breast Cancers
News | Brachytherapy Systems, Women's Healthcare | January 07, 2019
Breast cancer recurrence rates of patients treated with intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) using the Xoft Axxent...
Breast Cancer Patients Have Less Heart Damage With Heart Drug and Trastuzumab
News | Cardio-oncology | January 03, 2019
Breast cancer patients who take a heart drug at the same time as trastuzumab have less heart damage, according to a...
Opto-Acoustic Imaging Helps Differentiate Breast Cancer Molecular Subtypes
News | Ultrasound Women's Health | December 20, 2018
Seno Medical Instruments Inc. (Seno Medical) reported results of a study demonstrating that morphologic and functional...
Densitas Enters Platform Partnership With Blackford
News | Breast Density | December 19, 2018
Breast imaging analytics company Densitas Inc. announced the signing of a new Alliance Partner Agreement with Blackford...
Axillary Radiotherapy and Lymph Node Surgery Yield Comparable Outcomes for Breast Cancer
News | Radiation Therapy | December 18, 2018
Early-stage breast cancer patients with cancer detected in a sentinel lymph node biopsy had comparable 10-year...
RSNA Study Shows Real-Time Indicator Improves Mammographic Compression
News | Mammography | December 12, 2018
Sigmascreening recently announced that more than 100,000 women have had mammography exams with the Sensitive Sigma...
Massachusetts Superior Court Grants Hologic Preliminary Injunction in Trade Secrets Lawsuits
News | Mammography | December 12, 2018
December 12, 2018 — A Massachusetts Superior Court granted a preliminary injunction in lawsuits by Hologic against Ch