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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Important Takeaways from the World’s Largest Breast Imaging Meeting

By: Joy Burwell

Earlier this month the Society of Breast Imaging held the 2016 SBI ACR Breast Imaging Symposium in Austin, TX. Over 900 breast imagers gathered to discuss the latest science and techniques in the field. All came with the same goal: to improve the care they provide their patients. Breast imagers are clinicians whose number one priority is excellent patient care.  

There was a good amount of new information presented but one thing that the science continued to point out is that annual screening beginning at age 40 saves the most lives. The first plenary session focused on this and how to convey this clearly to patients. Dr. Robert Smith of the American Cancer Society said that all organizations believe that mammography benefits outweigh the harms. He also stated that a better reminder system needs to be implemented to help ensure women take advantage of this life saving screening. Throughout the morning plenary the various speakers mentioned the data that the Society of Breast Imaging has been touting for years, including:

  • 40% of years of life is lost from breast cancer is to women diagnosed in their 40s. 

  • Annual mammography screening saves the most lives as well as the most years of life. 

  • Twenty five percent more lives are saved with annual versus biennial screening. 

  • The risks of screening are manageable. 

  • None of the over 900 experts present have ever seen a breast cancer disappear. 

  • Overdiagnosis does exist but it is minimal. 

Some other information presented at the Symposium that patients should be aware of include:

  • Benefits of 3D mammography or tomosynthesis which include increased cancer detection and fewer recalls

  • The use of ultrasound, as it detects more invasive cancers in dense breasts

  • Screening MRI which detects cancers that are biologically active and perhaps more clinically relevant

  • Women overestimate their risk for breast cancer and their need for supplemental screening.

  • Breast density can lead to increased risk and decreased detection. The state level legislation which requires women to be notified if they have dense breasts was discussed. 

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The Society of Breast Imaging‘s goal for its initiative End the Confusion is to provide evidence based information on breast cancer screening. We will continue to provide information and resources as well as our views on the latest breast cancer screening news so we encourage you to regularly visit the website, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@BreastImaging). Hopefully we have addressed and will continue to address any and all confusion you experience when it comes to breast cancer screening. 

*The Society of Breast Imaging welcomes contributions from guest bloggers. If you would like to be a guest blogger, please review the guidelines here and email your blog post to info@sbi-online.org.*


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