Background: The aim was to describe cancer detection method and frequency of screening mammography in women undergoing breast cancer surgery in 2000. Study Design: Patients undergoing breast cancer surgery were identified through an institutional database. Charts were reviewed to determine presentation at time of diagnosis. Presentation was coded "palpable" if the woman presented with a breast complaint or if a new mass was detected on examination versus "screening" if detected on screening mammogram. Results: Five hundred ninety-two breast cancers were identified: 57% presenting by screening and 43% palpable. Cancer was more likely to present as palpable in patients with no previous screening mammography compared with those with previous mammography (67% versus 39%; p = 0.0002). Patients with palpable presentation were younger than those with screen-detected cancer (mean age 57 versus 62 years; p < 0.0001). Conclusions: Despite the frequent use of screening mammography, 43% of breast cancers presented as a palpable mass or otherwise symptomatic presentation.
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