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Breast Cancer Screening (PDQ®)

Health Professional Version
Last Modified: 10/03/2014

Changes to This Summary (10/03/2014)

The PDQ cancer information summaries are reviewed regularly and updated as new information becomes available. This section describes the latest changes made to this summary as of the date above.


Added text to state that although the specific plan of recommended treatment is typically tailored to individual tumor characteristics, at this time there is no reliable way to distinguish which cancer would never progress in an individual patient; therefore, some treatment is nearly always recommended.

Breast Cancer Screening Modalities—Mammography

Added text to state that two-view exams are also associated with lower interval cancer rates than are single-view exams (cited Dibden et al. as reference 2).

Added text to state that most screening mammograms are typically interpreted as negative or benign, with about 10% of women in the United States being asked to return for additional evaluation; extensive literature shows increasing rates of malignancy with Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS) assessment categories, with less than 1% risk for diagnosis of cancer within the next year after a BI-RADS 1 or 2 assessment, 2% risk for diagnosis of cancer within the next year after a BI-RADS 3 assessment, and 95% risk for diagnosis of cancer within the next year after a BI-RADS 5 assessment (cited Rosenberg et al. and Sickles et al. as references 5 and 6, respectively).

Mammography—Variables Associated with Accuracy

Added Tomosynthesis as a new subsection.

This summary is written and maintained by the PDQ Screening and Prevention Editorial Board, which is editorially independent of NCI. The summary reflects an independent review of the literature and does not represent a policy statement of NCI or NIH. More information about summary policies and the role of the PDQ Editorial Boards in maintaining the PDQ summaries can be found on the About This PDQ Summary and PDQ NCI's Comprehensive Cancer Database pages.