June 25, 2009

Teen girls may not need breast biopsy

U.S. researchers suggest an ultrasound examination might eliminate the need for some teenage girls to get a biopsy to detect breast cancer.

Dr. Aruna Vade of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine said if a lump is found in the breast of an adolescent girl, she often will undergo an excisional biopsy. However, breast cancer is rare in adolescents, and the vast majority of teenage breast lumps turn out to be benign masses that are related to hormones, said Vade, the lead author for the study.

In an excisional biopsy, the surgeon cuts along the contour of the breast and removes the lump. But the procedure can be painful, change the shape of the breast and leave a small scar, Vade explained.

Loyola radiologists performed ultrasound examinations on 20 girls ages13-19 who had lumps in their breasts, including one girl who had a lump in each breast. The ultrasound studies indicated 15 of the 21 lumps appeared to be benign, while six were suspicious.

Follow-up biopsies or clinical examinations determined all 21 lumps were benign.

These findings suggest that if a breast ultrasound finds nothing suspicious, the patient likely does not need to have an excisional biopsy, Vade said.

The findings are published in the American Journal of Roentgenology.