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August 1975

Implications of Suspicious Findings in Breast Cancer Screening

Author Affiliations

From the departments of surgery (Drs. Lewis, Milbrath, and DeCosse) and radiology (Dr. Shaffer), Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

Arch Surg. 1975;110(8):903-907. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1975.01360140047010

Breast cancer screening, performed on asymptomatic women over 35 years of age, has identified 32 breast cancers in 30 of 4,500 women screened. Screening included a physical examination by trained technologists, thermography, and xeromammography. This represents 26% of the biopsies performed (116). Results of xeromammography were suspicious in 24 cases (80%), and results of physical examination were suspicious in 11 (37%). Only six were suspicious by both methods, with one other having changes that were considered benign. Fourteen (44%) were microinvasive or noninvasive. Only two (6%) had axillary metastases. Breast cancer detected by screening is in its "early" stages and is usually well localized. Operative management, including removal of the entire breast, has a significant potential for cure. Thirty patients with changes considered suspicious have not yet had biopsies. Improved overall survival depends on appropriate management of all patients screened.

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