Researchers believe hormone therapy should not be stopped prior to mammograms

September 28, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) are recommending that menopausal women on hormone therapy (HT) continue their treatment prior to having their annual mammogram screenings. These recommendations appear as an editorial in the current on-line issue of Journal of the North American Menopause Society.

Annual mammography screening is credited with a significant reduction in breast cancer mortality in women older than 50, and is considered a pillar of routine healthcare maintenance in most populations. Sensitivity, specificity, and optimal performance of mammography depend on a number of variables including breast density. While subjective and objective increases in mammographic breast density have been reported in up to 30 percent of postmenopausal women taking HT, the majority of women in this age group have low breast densities to start with and the magnitude of the increase with HT is small in most. Furthermore, improvements in screening technologies (digital mammography) have shown promise in overcoming hindrances in denser breasts. It is thus extremely unlikely that a minor increase in density is going to mask the mammographic detection of any early if present.

"We do not believe everyone on HT should consider stopping treatment one to two months prior to their mammogram," said lead author Raja Sayegh, MD, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at BUSM. "Such a practice is likely to precipitate the recurrence of nuisance symptoms for which most menopausal women take HT nowadays, with no convincing evidence of improved screening accuracy. While there may be other good reasons to consider stopping HT, improving the mammographic detection of early cancers should not be one of them," he added.

Instead, the researchers recommend that should alert their HT patients to the possibility of an augmented mammographic density, or other artifacts, that may require additional evaluation. "This should become part of the office routine, as it has become part of mammography reporting routine. Women who have thus been alerted, are less likely to be ridden with fear and anxiety when they receive a recall notice from the department," said Sayegh.

Source: Boston University Medical Center

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

Team eradicates hepatitis C in 10 patients following lifesaving transplants from infected donors

April 30, 2017
Ten patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease. The findings point to new strategies for increasing ...

'bench to bedside to bench': Scientists call for closer basic-clinical collaborations

March 24, 2017
In the era of genome sequencing, it's time to update the old "bench-to-bedside" shorthand for how basic research discoveries inform clinical practice, researchers from The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), National Human Genome Research ...

The ethics of tracking athletes' biometric data

January 18, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—Whether it is a FitBit or a heart rate monitor, biometric technologies have become household devices. Professional sports leagues use some of the most technologically advanced biodata tracking systems to ...

Financial ties between researchers and drug industry linked to positive trial results

January 18, 2017
Financial ties between researchers and companies that make the drugs they are studying are independently associated with positive trial results, suggesting bias in the evidence base, concludes a study published by The BMJ ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.