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September 1, 2004

Do Tumors Detected by Mammography Screening Have a Favorable Prognosis?

JAMA. 2004;292(9):1062-1063. doi:10.1001/jama.292.9.1062

Considerable progress has been made in the last 20 years in improving outcomes for patients with breast cancer because of earlier detection and application of more effective therapies. The use of tamoxifen reduces the risk of recurrence and improves survival in patients with early stage hormone receptor–positive breast cancer.1 Recent evidence suggests that adjuvant use of aromatase inhibitors may further add to the benefits seen with tamoxifen.24 Likewise, the use of adjuvant chemotherapy has been demonstrated to reduce recurrence and mortality in patients with early stage breast cancer, particularly in younger patients and in those with tumors that do not express hormone receptors.5 Nonetheless, many patients would remain free of cancer following local therapy (surgery with or without radiotherapy) with no adjuvant systemic hormonal or chemotherapy. Much research is currently focused on tailoring the use of adjuvant systemic therapies and on identifying patients with tumor characteristics associated with a favorable prognosis.

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