A mammogram after a negative biopsy provides minimal benefits while substantially raising healthcare costs, according to a retrospective study presented at the American Society of Breast Surgeons meeting in Chicago last week.
Among 169 patients in the study who had routine breast imaging within 12 months of a negative biopsy, one malignancy was detected at a total cost of $192,745, according to the researchers.
"Our data do not support the routine use of short-term interval imaging following benign concordant breast biopsy," Demitra Manjoros, M.D., of Bryn Mawr Hospital in Pennsylvania, said according to MedPage Today. "In patients who undergo specimen radiography confirming lesion retrieval, routine interval imaging is not recommended. Selective use of interval imaging should be considered when confirmation of lesion retrieval is difficult."
National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines recommend that repeat imaging be performed six to 12 months after a benign autopsy. However, the study was launched, according to lead author Andrea Barrio--an attending breast surgeon at Bryn Mawr Hospital--after she observed in her practice that short-term imaging wasn't making much of an impact on patient care.
While the findings support a policy of discontinuing imaging less than 12 months after a benign finding, Barrio said that doesn't mean that no one should receive short-term imaging follow up, according to HealthDay. Certain women, such as those whose initial findings were vague, might be encouraged to have follow-up imaging in less than a year.
"I think most women would be fine having repeat imaging in 12 months," Laura Kruper, M.D., director of the Cooper Finkel Women's Health Center and co-director of the breast cancer program at the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Duarte, Calif., said, according to HealthDay. "But it should be done on a selective basis," taking into account things like family history and patient preference.