Screening results hit by past cancer

Mammography screening is less accurate in women with prior breast cancer than in women who have not had the disease, a study suggests.

Mammography can detect second breast cancers at an early stage, but is less sensitive in women with a previous history of breast cancer (PHBC), University of Sydney researchers found. They said the findings still supported annual screening in PHBC women, who are at risk of second breast cancer.

Data from 100,000 women with and without PHBC screened for breast cancer showed that cancer and cancer detection rates were higher among women with a PHBC.

But screening sensitivity among this group was lower at 65 per cent compared with 76 per cent among the non-PHBC group. Researchers said results showed screening 'did not perform as well in PHBC women relative to that in women without PHBC'.

Screening of women with PHBC also led to twice as many recommendations for additional imaging or biopsy, they said.

Stephen Robinson

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Link to JAMA reserach

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