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Provista Blog > 4 Pitfalls in Breast Cancer Detection

Provista Blog

4 Pitfalls in Breast Cancer Detection

Posted by Provista Diagnostics on October 26, 2016
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Current methods of breast cancer detection do not always provide sufficient information. This makes a healthcare provider's clinical decisions more challenging. Of particular concern are women who fall into the following four categories:

1. BI-RADS 3: Probably Benign Finding

The standard-of-care for a woman with a BI-RADS 3 finding is to "watch-and-wait"––meaning for two years the patient will return every six months to establish stability of the abnormality. For some women, this period of watchful waiting can lead to heightened anxiety from the uncertainty of her breast abnormality.

 

2. "Gray Zone": BI-RADS 3 vs. BI-RADS 4A

The results of a mammogram are not always black and white––they sometimes fall into a "gray area." This is of particular concern for patients in the BI-RADS 3 and BI-RADS 4A categorizations. The likelihood of a breast cancer is less than two percent in a BI-RADS 3 patient and in a BI-RADS 4A the likelihood is between two and 10 percent. The difference between the two categories is very low; however, management of the patients in each category varies drastically. In a BI-RADS 4 patient, the American College of Radiology guidelines specify the use of a biopsy is appropriate to confirm the presence or absence of breast cancer. 

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3. Elevated Risk: The Dense Breast Dilemma

In over half the country women are informed of their breast density at the time of annual breast cancer screening. Dense breast tissues (fiborous or glandular tissue) can obscure breast imaging, which makes confirming the presence or absence of breast cancer difficult. For more information on dense breasts visit Dense Breast Info or Are You Dense.  

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4. High-Risk Lesions: When Biopsy Isn't Enough

Due to the similarities in appearance of high-risk lesions and breast cancer/ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a definitive diagnosis can be difficult. Women with high-risk lesion results are often subjected to excisional biopsies (a more invasive surgical procedure) in order to make a definitive diagnosis. Complementary blood-based approaches could help reduce invasive procedures.

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Complementary Approaches to Detection

Detecting breast cancer at the earliest, most treatable stage increases survival rates while reducing the costs and treatment burden for patients. New approaches to early detection include protein-based blood tests, which focuses on confirming the absence of breast cancer and helping to identify breast cancer at an early stage. 

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Provista Diagnostics

Provista Diagnostics

At Provista Diagnostics, our mission is to develop world-class diagnostic tests for indications in breast and gynecologic cancers. As a leading diagnostics company, our aim is to create, produce and market innovative solutions for unmet clinical needs. Our products and services help to diagnose diseases and inform better clinical decisions, thus enhancing women’s health and quality of life. We do this in a responsible and ethical manner with a commitment to excellence in every aspect of our business.