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One-Third of Breast Cancer Patients Not Getting Appropriate Breast Imaging Follow-Up Exam

An annual mammogram is recommended after treatment for breast cancer, but nearly one-third of women diagnosed with breast cancer aren't receiving this follow-up exam, according to new findings presented at the 2016 Annual Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons.

While previous studies on Medicare patients suggest that surveillance imaging is underutilized, the use of mammography in a broad range of women diagnosed with breast cancer is unknown, as is the role of surveillance magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

For this study, Caprice C. Greenberg, MD, MPH, FACS, of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and colleagues assessed the receipt of surveillance breast MRI and mammography in 9,622 women who underwent a surgical procedure to treat Stage II and III breast cancer from 2006 through 2007 with data collected from the National Cancer Database (NCDB). The NCDB is jointly sponsored by the American College of Surgeons and the American Cancer Society.

The researchers assessed imaging, cancer recurrence, new cancer, and death from the time of treatment and for five years after diagnosis. Next, they collected additional data on the reason for imaging (diagnostic evaluation of a new sign or symptom or surveillance imaging in the absence of signs and symptoms). Fifty percent of the study population was under age 60.

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