pros and cons of recommended screening technologies

The Pros and Cons of Recommended Screening Technologies

Screening Mammograms

BENEFITS:
  • The only method proven in clinical studies to reduce deaths from breast cancer through early detection
  • Provides superior detection of certain cancers (e.g. DCIS)
  • Low cost
  • Covered by most insurance and Medicare
LIMITATIONS:
  • Less effective in women with dense breast tissue
  • Not advised for women who are pregnant or who are breastfeeding
  • False negative / false positive results
  • Over-diagnosis and over-treatment

Breast Tomosynthesis (3D Mammogram)

BENEFITS:
  • Enables 3D visualization of the breast
  • Clinically proven to increase cancer detection versus
    2D mammography
  • A low-cost add on to mammography
    (may be covered by some insurances)
LIMITATIONS:
  • Higher radiation dose
  • Not advised for women who are pregnant or
    who are breastfeeding
  • False negative / false positive results
  • Over-diagnosis and over-treatment

Screening Breast Ultrasound

BENEFITS:
  • Can find cancers that are unseen on a mammogram
  • A proven adjunctive screening for women with dense breasts
  • No breast compression or radiation exposure
LIMITATIONS:
  • False positive / false negative results
  • Operator dependent; the skills of the technologists are variable
  • Limited number of technologists trained on screening ultrasound

Breast MRI/Fast Breast MRI

BENEFITS:
  • Effective for high risk women – Mammography plus breast MRI can increase breast cancer detection
  • No breast compression or radiation
LIMITATIONS:
  • More invasive – requires the injection of a contrast agent
  • Can miss cancers that are easily found on a mammogram
  • Cannot visualize calcifications and microcalcifications that surround DCIS lesions
  • False negative / false positive results
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