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Am J Surg. 1996 Mar;171(3):356-9.

Results of needle localized breast biopsy in women under age 50.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Abington Memorial Hospital, Pennsylvania, USA.



The use of screening mammography in women aged 40 to 50 years is controversial because of a relative lack of data demonstrating survival benefit for this segment of the population.


The charts of 809 consecutive women who underwent needle localized breast biopsy over a 6 1/2-year period were reviewed to determine the effect of age on the biopsy results. Patient ages ranged from 27 to 91 years (mean 56).


Two hundred nineteen (27%) of the 809 needle localized breast biopsies were malignant, with a mean tumor diameter of 1.46 cm. This procedure identified malignancy in 3 (5%) of 60 patients age 40, and in 32 (15%) of 207 patients aged 40 to 49 years. Malignancy was significantly more likely in patients 50 years of age or older and was found in 184 (34%) of the 542 (P<0.001). Overall, 33% of all patients undergoing the procedure were under age 50.


Without screening mammography, the diagnosis of breast cancer would have been delayed in 32 women aged 40 to 50, 15% of the total diagnosed with nonpalpable breast cancer in this study. We recommend the use of screening mammography in this age group.

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