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A combination of mammography and breast ultrasound might improve breast cancer detection in women being screened for the disease. A study published online Aug. 18, 2021, by JAMA Network Open found that the combination of technologies performed better than mammography alone. Researchers analyzed data from a trial conducted in Japan from July 2007 to March 2011, involving 19,213 women, ages 40 to 49. The trial enrolled asymptomatic women who were randomly divided into two groups. One group was screened using mammography alone; the other group, with a combination of mammography and ultrasound. The cancer detection rate was significantly higher in the combination group than the mammography group. The combined screening also detected more cancers in women with dense breast tissue, which can make it difficult to see cancers on a mammogram. However, women in the ultrasound-plus-mammography group were also more likely to be called back for additional imaging or a biopsy. The researchers concluded that using mammography and ultrasound together might improve detection of early-stage and invasive breast cancers in younger women regardless of density of breast tissue.
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