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Beyond mammography -- MRIs, thermography, ultrasound ...

December 4, 2009 |  9:29 am

Bra Forget mammograms; breast MRIs are the way to go. No, no, thermography is the answer. Wait, what about ductal lavage? Such has been the gist of comments in the wake of the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force's suggestion that maybe, just perhaps, all women under 50 don't need regular screening mammograms.

And researchers released a report this week at the Radiological Society of North America meeting suggesting that ultrasound, in combination with a specific software program, could detect 98% of cancers. (the Reuters story)

So here's a quick rundown, from the American Cancer Society, on other breast-screening technologies.

The information includes details on just how mammograms are done, what doctors look for on the resulting film and the description of mammogram findings -- useful background as this discussion evolves.

Here's another look at screening procedures, courtesy Breastcancer.org.

As for the increasingly touted other technologies, they're generally regarded as most useful in specific cases -- not as a one-screening-technique-fits-all answer.

The original story in the now ongoing coverage: Mammogram guidelines spark heated debate.

And an addendum this week from some of the doctors who made the recent "maybe not everyone needs a regular screening" suggestion: Mammogram panel says guidelines 'poorly worded.'

-- Tami Dennis

Photo: Runners hoist a giant bra at September's Susan G. Komen Orange County Race For The Cure in Newport Beach. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

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