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Mammograms Less Accurate in Detecting New Tumors in Cancer Survivors

According to a US study, mammography might be less accurate in detecting breast cancer in women who have already had the disease before. Breast cancer survivors are likely to develop new tumors and their screening is little known. The study appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Association states that the screening might help detect breast cancer in the survivors. However, this might not be too often.

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Les Irwig, University of Sydney in Australia and the lead investigator of the study, compared about 20,000 mammograms, 50% from the breast cancer survivors and 50% without any history of cancer. Within a year of the screening, 655 tumor were detected in the survivors as compared to 342 in women without history of cancer. 7 cancers were detected for every 1,000 screenings as opposed to 4 per 1,000 screening in women who have never had cancer. However, the procedure missed the detection of the tumor 11% more often in cancer survivors in spite of undergoing extra mammograms.

These findings should lead to improved procedures to find tumors among cancer survivors. According to the ACS, one in eight women suffers from breast cancer. However, the death due to cancer is declining. It is recommended that women over 40 should go for mammograms at least once in a year and for women over 50 , it should be once in every two years.

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