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Radiology. 1991 Sep;180(3):831-5.

Usefulness of mammography and sonography in women less than 35 years of age.

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Iris Cantor Center for Breast Imaging, UCLA Medical Center 90024-1721.


Indications, clinical history, mammographic findings, and clinical outcome were reviewed in 1,016 women younger than 35 years who underwent mammography during an 8-year period. The indications for mammography were a palpable mass in 454 (44.7%), findings at routine screening in 237 (23.3%), lumpiness in 29 (14.9%), unilateral nipple discharge in seven (3.5%), localized breast tenderness in six (5.1%), adenopathy in three (1.9%), diffuse tenderness in two (2.9%), bilateral nipple discharge in two (1.5%), and miscellaneous in four (2.2%). In 405 women (39.9%), at least two-thirds of the breast tissue was radiodense; however, in 299 (29.4%) women the breast was predominantly fatty, allowing for excellent mammograms. Six women had carcinomas: Mammographic findings prompted biopsy in one patient, indicated a benign-appearing mass (found to be solid at sonography or aspiration) in three patients with a palpable mass (contributing to delay in biopsy in two), and were negative in two. Sonography was performed in 389 women and was useful in preventing unnecessary biopsy of cysts but was not useful in differentiating benign from malignant solid masses. Younger women with persistent localized breast symptoms should undergo a tailored mammographic examination, but negative findings or findings of a benign lesion should not preclude biopsy of a palpable solid mass.

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