Clinical and self breast examination remain important in the era of modern screening

Irene Ma, Amylou Dueck, Richard Gray, Nabil Wasif, Marina Giurescu, Roxanne Lorans, Victor Pizzitola, Barbara Pockaj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations


Background. Breast cancer screening recommendations are in flux. We reviewed the methods of detecting newly diagnosed breast neoplasms at our institution. Methods. A retrospective review of patients stratified by age was performed to compare mammography with self- (SBE) and clinical (CBE) breast examination methods of cancer detection from 2005 to 2009. Results. We identified 782 patients. Patients aged <50 years were more likely to present with palpable disease (P < 0.001). Overall, 75% of patients had a mammogram within 24 months. There was a higher incidence of Tis tumors and lower incidence of T1 tumors if patients had mammography performed within 12 months versus 13-24 months (P < 0.01); tumor size, hormonal status, and lymph node (LN) status were comparable between these two groups. Patients diagnosed by SBE/CBE who had mammography performed within 12 months versus 13-24 months did not differ statistically according to tumor characteristics. In the screened cohort (mammography within 24 months), the majority of patients (64%) were diagnosed by mammography. Cancers detected by SBE/CBE were larger tumors (2.4 vs. 1.3 cm), higher grade, more frequently ER- (29 vs. 16%), triple-negative (21 vs. 10%), and lymph node-positive (39 vs. 18%; all P ≤ 0.01). There were no statistically significant differences in tumor size, T stage, or hormonal status in patients who had analog versus digital mammography. Conclusions. Whereas the majority of patients had imagedetected breast cancer, a significant number of imagescreened patients presented with palpable disease, which were more aggressive cancers. Until imaging techniques are refined, SBE and CBE remain important for breast cancer diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1484-1490
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of surgical oncology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology

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