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Mammography and follow-up ultrasound are not always enough to detect breast cancer early enough in women with dense breasts. American health authorities believe that an MRI should also be prescribed to them.

Dense breast tissue, which contains a higher proportion of fibrous tissue than fat, is a known risk factor for breast cancer, along with family history. But this tissue density also makes screening by mammography much more difficult, which sometimes prevents you from benefiting from early screening.

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Based on this observation, scientists from the University of Vermont Cancer Center (United States) recommend that women with dense breasts benefit from additional screening to avoid missing out on a tumor that would not have been seen on mammography, and thus reduce breast cancer mortality.

Thus, until an artificial intelligence algorithm can diagnose all types of breast cancer, they suggest prescribing an MRI to all women with breast density.

Decrease the risk of interval cancer

By studying mammograms and breast ultrasounds performed between 2014 and 2020 in 32 American imaging centers, these researchers realized that in women with dense breasts, there was a high risk of invasive breast cancer called “from the interval” (i.e. between two mammograms): “this risk was present in 23.7% of women who underwent an ultrasound and in 18.5% of women who underwent a mammogram, without additional imaging” explain- they.

They therefore believe that breast density should be an indication for additional MRI screening, especially in women most at risk of breast cancer.

Remember that in France, the High Authority for Health has just recommended the introduction of 3D mammography in the organized screening of breast cancer to improve early diagnosis.

Source :Breast cancer risk characteristics of women undergoing whole-breast ultrasound screening versus mammography aloneCancer, June 2023

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