By Kate Madden Yee, staff writer
    November 7, 2012

    Sunday, November 25 | 11:25 a.m.-11:35 a.m. | SSA01-05 | Arie Crown Theater
    Since the 2009 passage of the breast density notification law in Connecticut, radiologists have a legal obligation to inform patients with mammographically dense breast tissue that they may benefit from the addition of screening breast ultrasound. But how effective is that second round of screening?

    Dr. Saad Ibrahim of Yale University School of Medicine and colleagues conducted a study to explore this question, and they will present the findings in this Sunday morning session.

    The study consisted of a retrospective chart review of 935 consecutive women who had screening breast ultrasound between October 2009 and September 2010 before undergoing an additional screening breast ultrasound exam within the next 15 months. The cohort included 419 women, all of whom had had a bilateral mammogram within one year prior to the screening ultrasound.

    Of the 419 women, 64.4% were low-risk, 18.4% were intermediate-risk, and 8.6% were high-risk; risk factors were unknown in 8.6%. Of the total cohort, 82% were in BI-RADS 1 or 2 categories, 15% were BI-RADS 3, and 3.2% were BI-RADS 4 (no BI-RADS 5 lesions were found).

    The bottom line? A second round of yearly screening breast ultrasound in women with mammographically dense breast tissue has a cancer detection rate of 4.8 per 1,000, similar to cancer detection rates seen in prevalence-screening breast ultrasound exams, according to Ibrahim's group.

    This led the researchers to conclude that although the optimal frequency of screening breast ultrasound remains undetermined, the study does support the benefit of yearly screening breast ultrasound for women with dense breast tissue.