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Am J Med. 2013 Jun;126(6):472-9. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2012.11.025. Epub 2013 Apr 3.

Beyond mammography: new frontiers in breast cancer screening.

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H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, FL 33612, USA.


Breast cancer screening remains a subject of intense and, at times, passionate debate. Mammography has long been the mainstay of breast cancer detection and is the only screening test proven to reduce mortality. Although it remains the gold standard of breast cancer screening, there is increasing awareness of subpopulations of women for whom mammography has reduced sensitivity. Mammography also has undergone increased scrutiny for false positives and excessive biopsies, which increase radiation dose, cost, and patient anxiety. In response to these challenges, new technologies for breast cancer screening have been developed, including low-dose mammography, contrast-enhanced mammography, tomosynthesis, automated whole breast ultrasound, molecular imaging, and magnetic resonance imaging. Here we examine some of the current controversies and promising new technologies that may improve detection of breast cancer both in the general population and in high-risk groups, such as women with dense breasts. We propose that optimal breast cancer screening will ultimately require a personalized approach based on metrics of cancer risk with selective application of specific screening technologies best suited to the individual's age, risk, and breast density.

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