Important News & Updates

Recommendations on Breast Cancer Screening

Importance

Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States. In 2015, an estimated 232,000 women were diagnosed with the disease and 40,000 women died of it. It is most frequently diagnosed among women aged 55 to 64 years, and the median age of death from breast cancer is 68 years.1

Benefit and Harms of Screening and Early Treatment

The USPSTF found adequate evidence that mammography screening reduces breast cancer mortality in women aged 40 to 74 years. The number of breast cancer deaths averted increases with age; women aged 40 to 49 years benefit the least and women aged 60 to 69 years benefit the most. Age is the most important risk factor for breast cancer, and the increased benefit observed with age is at least partly due to the increase in risk. Women aged 40 to 49 years who have a first-degree relative with breast cancer have a risk for breast cancer similar to that of women aged 50 to 59 years without a family history. Direct evidence about the benefits of screening mammography in women aged 75 years or older is lacking.

The USPSTF found adequate evidence that screening for breast cancer with mammography results in harms for women aged 40 to 74 years. The most important harm is the diagnosis and treatment of noninvasive and invasive breast cancer that would otherwise not have become a threat to a woman’s health, or even apparent, during her lifetime (that is, overdiagnosis and overtreatment). False-positive results are common and lead to unnecessary and sometimes invasive follow-up testing, with the potential for psychological harms (such as anxiety). False-negative results (that is, missed cancer) also occur and may provide false reassurance. Radiation-induced breast cancer and resulting death can also occur, although the number of both of these events is predicted to be low.

The USPSTF found inadequate evidence on the benefits and harms of DBT as a primary screening method for breast cancer. Similarly, the USPSTF found inadequate evidence on the benefits and harms of adjunctive screening for breast cancer using breast ultrasonography, MRI, DBT, or other methods in women identified to have dense breasts on an otherwise negative screening mammogram. In both cases, while there is some information about the accuracy of these methods, there is no information on the effects of their use on health outcomes, such as breast cancer incidence, mortality, or overdiagnosis rates.

USPSTF Assessment

The USPSTF concludes with moderate certainty that the net benefit of screening mammography in women aged 50 to 74 years is moderate.

The USPSTF concludes with moderate certainty that the net benefit of screening mammography in the general population of women aged 40 to 49 years, while positive, is small.

The USPSTF concludes that the evidence on mammography screening in women age 75 years and older is insufficient, and the balance of benefits and harms cannot be determined.

The USPSTF concludes that the evidence on DBT as a primary screening modality for breast cancer is insufficient, and the balance of benefits and harms cannot be determined.

The USPSTF concludes that the evidence on adjunctive screening for breast cancer using breast ultrasound, MRI, DBT, or other methods in women identified to have dense breasts on an otherwise negative screening mammogram is insufficient, and the balance of benefits and harms cannot be determined.

Read the full report here: https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/recommendation/breast-cancer-screening#fullrecommendationstart


Patients with cancer or immunosuppressed need a 3rd dose of Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. 

The Washington Post (8/12) reports, “Regulators took steps Thursday to shore up the defenses of millions of vulnerable Americans against the coronavirus, authorizing extra doses of two widely used vaccines for some people with weakened immune systems.” The FDA’s action “means that additional shots could be available as soon as this weekend for patients who have received organ transplants or have certain types of cancer or other illnesses.”

        The New York Times (8/12) reports that the decision gives “physicians more leeway to protect those who did not respond enough to an initial series of shots.”

        USA Today (8/12) reports that the decision impacts “the less than 3% of Americans who are severely immunocompromised,” as the FDA determined that “people who are on medications or have diseases that suppress their immune system may not have gotten adequate protection from their earlier doses of COVID-19 vaccine and are more likely to mount a response to an additional dose.”

Source: AOA Morning Brief

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