Nav: Home

How often should you have a mammogram? Breast density and risk can inform decision

August 22, 2016

1. Breast density and risk may be useful for guiding mammography screening frequency
Abstract: http://www.annals.org/article.aspx?doi=10.7326/M16-0476
Editorial: http://www.annals.org/article.aspx?doi=10.7326/M16-1791
URLs go live when the embargo lifts

Women between the ages of 50 and 74 may benefit from more or less frequent mammography screening than is generally recommended, depending on breast density and risk. For average-risk women with lower breast density, which comprises a large proportion of the population, triennial screening offers about the same or better balance of benefits and harms as biennial screening and is also cost-effective. Higher-risk women with dense breasts may fare better with annual screening. Findings from a collaborative modeling study are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Accepted clinical guidelines recommend biennial mammography screening for women aged 50 to 74. These recommendations also advocate shared decision making regarding screening frequency that takes into consideration an individual woman's preferences, risk level, and breast density. However, there is limited data available to guide clinicians and women in making these decisions.

Researchers from the Cancer Intervention and Surveillance Modeling Network, collaborating with the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium (BCSC), used three well-established models to evaluate outcomes using various screening intervals for digital mammography among subgroups of women based on age, risk, and breast density. The outcomes were projected for women 50 or older who were deciding whether to initiate (or continue) biennial screening until age 74 or to have annual or triennial screening. The models showed that average-risk women with lower breast density could safely and effectively extend their screening interval to once every three years, which could reduce false-positives, biopsies, and overdiagnosis with minimal effect on breast cancer deaths averted. Women at higher risk for breast cancer and with dense breasts would reap greater benefit from annual screening. The authors suggest that these findings could be useful for guiding shared decision making and tailoring screening intervals.

Note: For an embargoed PDF, please contact Cara Graeff. To reach the lead author, Dr. Amy Trentham-Dietz, please contact Susan Smith at ssmith5@uwhealth.org or 608-890-5643.




2. Preoperative patient frailty a good predictor of long-term mortality in older patients
Abstract: http://www.annals.org/article.aspx?doi=10.7326/M16-0652
Editorial: http://www.annals.org/article.aspx?doi=10.7326/M16-1866
URLs go live when the embargo lifts

Frailty status, assessed using tools that measure mobility, disability, and nutritional status, may predict mortality 6 or more months after major cardiac surgery and functional decline after more minor cardiac procedures. A systematic evidence review is published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Identifying patients who are most or least likely to benefit from surgical procedures remains a significant challenge. Frailty is one of the factors that affect outcomes in older patients. As such, experts have developed several instruments to measure frailty by assessing gait speed, grip strength, or deficit accumulation. However, there is no consensus on how to best measure this vulnerability.

Researchers reviewed published studies to evaluate the evidence for 9 frailty instruments used to predict mortality, functional status, or major adverse cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events (MACCEs) in older adults undergoing cardiac surgical procedures and 13 instruments to measure the same in patients undergoing minimally invasive procedures. Despite the various ways of measuring frailty, the researchers found strong evidence that it predicts mortality at 6 months or later after major or minimally invasive procedures. Some evidence indicated that frailty may predict functional decline, poor quality of life, or lack of symptomatic benefit after minimally invasive procedures.

The authors of an accompanying editorial suggest that these findings can improve care for older surgical patients by helping to inform decisions about surgery for both the patient and clinician. Once the decision to have surgery is made, patients and their caregivers can be better prepared for possible outcomes.

Note: For an embargoed PDF, please contact Cara Graeff. The lead author, Dr. Dae Hyun Kim, can be reached through Kelly Lawman at klawman@bidmc.harvard.edu or 617-667-7305.




3. Fecal transplantation seems highly curative for recurrent C. diff, but questions remain
Abstract: http://www.annals.org/article.aspx?doi=10.7326/M16-0271
Editorial: http://www.annals.org/article.aspx?doi=10.7326/M16-1784
URLs go live when the embargo lifts

In a randomized, controlled, double-blind clinical trial, fecal microbiota transplantation using donor stool seemed to be safe and was more efficacious than transplantation using the patient's own stool in curing multiply recurrent Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infection. However, results varied widely by study site, raising questions about the benefits and risk of the procedure. The findings are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

C. diff is the most common health care-associated infection in U.S. hospitals. Antibiotics are frequently ineffective and recurrences are common. Fecal transplantation restores the normal composition of gut microbiota and is recommended when antibiotics fail to clear the infection after a third episode of infection. However, the evidence for fecal transplantation rests largely on case series and several open-label clinical trials.

Researchers assigned 46 patients with three or more recurrences of C. diff to receive fecal microbiota transplantation with donor stool or their own stool administered by colonoscopy at two academic medical centers - Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York, and The Miriam Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island. Overall, 91 percent of patients in the donor stool group achieved clinical cure compared with 63 percent receiving their own stool. However, cure rates in patients receiving their own stool were 90 percent in the New York medical center and about 43 percent at the Rhode Island medical center.

The author of an accompanying editorial suggests that these "striking" findings may be due to differences in patient characteristics including, locale, length of time between initial diagnosis and transplantation, and the type of antibiotic used, among other factors. More research is needed to answer some of the questions raised by this randomized trial.

Note: For an embargoed PDF, please contact Angela Collom. The lead author, Dr. Colleen Kelly, please contact Elena Falcone-Relvas at efalconerelvas@lifespan.org or 401-793-7484.
-end-


American College of Physicians

Related Breast Cancer Articles:

Does MRI plus mammography improve detection of new breast cancer after breast conservation therapy?
A new article published by JAMA Oncology compares outcomes for combined mammography and MRI or ultrasonography screenings for new breast cancers in women who have previously undergone breast conservation surgery and radiotherapy for breast cancer initially diagnosed at 50 or younger.
Blood test offers improved breast cancer detection tool to reduce use of breast biopsy
A Clinical Breast Cancer study demonstrates Videssa Breast can inform better next steps after abnormal mammogram results and potentially reduce biopsies up to 67 percent.
Surgery to remove unaffected breast in early breast cancer increases
The proportion of women in the United States undergoing surgery for early-stage breast cancer who have preventive mastectomy to remove the unaffected breast increased significantly in recent years, particularly among younger women, and varied substantially across states.
Breast cancer patients with dense breast tissue more likely to develop contralateral disease
Breast cancer patients with dense breast tissue have almost a two-fold increased risk of developing disease in the contralateral breast, according to new research from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer.
Some early breast cancer patients benefit more from breast conservation than from mastectomy
Breast conserving therapy (BCT) is better than mastectomy for patients with some types of early breast cancer, according to results from the largest study to date, presented at ECC2017.
More Breast Cancer News and Breast Cancer Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Teaching For Better Humans
More than test scores or good grades — what do kids need to prepare them for the future? This hour, guest host Manoush Zomorodi and TED speakers explore how to help children grow into better humans, in and out of the classroom. Guests include educators Olympia Della Flora and Liz Kleinrock, psychologist Thomas Curran, and writer Jacqueline Woodson.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#535 Superior
Apologies for the delay getting this week's episode out! A technical glitch slowed us down, but all is once again well. This week, we look at the often troubling intertwining of science and race: its long history, its ability to persist even during periods of disrepute, and the current forms it takes as it resurfaces, leveraging the internet and nationalism to buoy itself. We speak with Angela Saini, independent journalist and author of the new book "Superior: The Return of Race Science", about where race science went and how it's coming back.