Reasonable alternative to invasive biopsy of palpable breast lesions with benign imaging features identified

November 20, 2009

Short-term follow-up is a reasonable alternative to invasive biopsy of palpable (capable of being touched or felt) breast lesions with benign imaging features, particularly in younger women with probable fibroadenoma (non-cancerous tumors that often occur in women during their reproductive years), according to a study published in the December issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

The study, performed at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., consisted of a group of 320 with 375 palpable masses with benign features for which short-term follow-up was recommended. "We found that only one case of cancer was diagnosed for which short-term follow-up had been recommended," said Jennifer A. Harvey, M.D., lead author of the study.

"Our study of palpable breast lesions with benign features showed an acceptably low prevalence of ─ so low that short-term follow-up is a reasonable alternative to biopsy," said Harvey.

"Application of the results of our study may reduce the number of biopsies that result in benign findings. There is also significant cost savings associated with using short-term follow-up rather than immediate ," she said.

Source: American College of Radiology

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