Some ‘Benign’ Breast Masses Pose Greater Cancer Risk Than We Thought

By Reuters

By Gene Emery
(Reuters Health) – A type of “benign” mass found in the breast tissue of about 100,000 U.S. women each year poses a greater risk of cancer than previously thought, according to a new review.
The mass is classified as atypical hyperplasia, or atypia. Most women who have it – and one out of 10 women who have a breast biopsy do – are usually told that their test result was benign, even though their cells seemed to be exhibiting some early characteristics of a tumor.
Doctors may tell those women that they face an above-average risk of cancer so they need to be followed more closely, a recommendation based on the fact that such women are four or five times more likely to develop breast cancer. But that statistic isn’t meaningful for a woman who doesn’t know what the normal risk is.
Researchers have now cast that risk in more concrete terms in the January 1 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Women with atypia, they found, have a 7 percent risk of developing a tumor with five years after the biopsy, a 13 percent risk after 10 years and a 30 percent risk after 25 years.
Researchers at Vanderbilt University have found a similar risk level.
“It gives you the scale of the risk” and it turns out to be a bit higher than the estimated risk that comes from some popular methods used to try to predict a woman’s likelihood of developing breast cancer, said Dr. Lynn Hartmann of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who led the review.
The findings should change the way women with atypia are treated, leading to more-aggressive screening using MRI and more emphasis on using drugs that have actually been shown to prevent breast cancer, she told Reuters Health.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) has said that an MRI scan is worthwhile for women whose lifetime risk of breast cancer is 20 to 25 percent, Hartmann said. …read more

Source: More Fitness

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