Early Detection of Breast Cancer Still VITAL

Results of Large Study in the Netherlands - Influence of tumor stage at Breast Cancer Detection on Survival in Modern Times - conclude that the diagnosis of breast cancer at an early tumor stage remains vital.

It has been demonstrated in scientific studies for decades that mammography is limited in dense breasts and is the strongest predictor of the FAILURE of mammography to detect cancer.  Tragically, too many women with dense breast tissue count on mammography screening to detect cancer.  Studies have also demonstrated that a woman with the densest breasts is 17x more likely to have an interval cancer when compared to women with the fattiest breast.  This is why, studies have suggested that multi-modal screening should be offered to women with dense breast to have access to the effect of an early diagnosis.

This study followed female patients with breast cancer diagnosed between 1999 and 2012.  They were subdivided into two cohorts on the basis of their diagnosis - 1999-2005 and 2006-2012.  The purpose of the study was to determine if the screening of breast cancer, with the purpose of finding the earliest cancer, is still important in light of new systemic therapies. 

Findings:  Mortality from breast cancer increased in both cohorts with progressing tumor size, but without a significance difference in invasive cancers until 1CM and independently with the number of positive lymph nodes.

Take Away from the Study:  Women with dense breast tissue have a greater chance of cancers missed, delayed and hence advanced on mammogram (2D and 3D).  In order to benefit from the vitality and effect of EARLY Detection, women with dense breast tissue should have access to multi-modal screening (such as Ultrasound, MRI, MBI) as an adjunct to their mammogram. 

You can access the study here.

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  • Are You Dense? Fact #1:

    Breast density is one of the strongest predictors of the failure of mammography screening to detect cancer.

  • Are You Dense? Fact #2:

    Two-thirds of pre-menopausal women and 40% of post-menopausal women have dense breast tissue. 

  • Are You Dense? Fact #3:

    Adding more sensitive tests to mammography significantly increase detection of invasive cancers that are small and node negative.

  • Are You Dense? Fact #4:

    American College of Radiology describes women with "Dense Breast Tissue" as having a higher than average risk of Breast Cancer.

  • Are You Dense? Fact #5:

    While a mammogram detects 98% of cancers in women with fatty breasts, it finds only 48% in women with dense breasts.

  • Are You Dense? Fact #6:

    A woman at average risk and a woman at high risk have an EQUAL chance of having their cancer masked by mammogram.

  • Are You Dense? Fact #7:

    Women with dense breasts who had breast cancer have a four times higher risk of recurrence than women with less-dense breasts.

  • Are You Dense? Fact #8:

    A substantial proportion of Breast Cancer can be attributed to high breast density alone.

  • Are You Dense? Fact #9:

    Cancer turns up five times more often in women with extremely dense breasts than those with the most fatty tissue.

  • Are You Dense? Fact #10

    There are too many women who are unaware of their breast density, believe their “Happy Gram” when it reports no significant findings and are at risk of receiving a later stage cancer diagnosis.