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Mammogram should be delayed for a year after breast cancer treatment

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Breast cancer patients who receive breast-conserving surgery and radiation do not need a follow-up mammogram until 12 months after treatment, according to US researchers.

They said that, while mammography were established as a crucial part of post-treatment surveillance for breast cancer patients, the optimal timing of the initial follow-up mammogram was previously unclear – guidelines recommending anywhere between six and 12 months after treatment.

The researchers looked at 408 patients who were treated with breast-conserving therapy and radiation, and who had follow-up mammograms within a year after completing radiation. The median time interval between the two was 3.1 months.

However, only 10 patients had suspicious findings on their mammograms and of those only two were found to have recurrent cancer – both of which were non-invasive ductal carcinoma, the authors said.

‘Omitting the initial post-radiotherapy examination may improve the psychological well-being of patients,’ said the authors.

International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics (2008) 72: 1041-1047

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