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Current trends in the management and diagnosis of breast cancer

Submitted by breastcancerspec on Fri, 2016-04-29 19:34

There have been several recent developments in the diagnosis and management of breast cancer.

Digital breast tomosynthesis is a new technology being installed into mammography units over the last few years. It is a relatively new technology, especially in Australasia. It is similar to a CT scan of the breast, it creates a 3D reconstructed volumetric image of the breast.

In full eld digital mammography, normal overlapping breast tissue can obscure cancers thereby causing false negative diagnostics. Tomosynethesis reduces this problem. Its impact on both false positives and false negatives in the general screening setting has been evaluated overseas, but no Australasian data, nor data from high risk populations currently exists. It is associated with a minimal increase in radiation dose.

Tomosynthesis is an exciting technology that is emerging as a signi cant improvement to current standard digital mammography. Short course adjuvant radiotherapy has recently been proven nto be as effective as a standard six week course. There is new evidence indicating that some women will be eligible for
short course radiotherapy known as accelerated whole breast radiotherapy. Three trails compared 16 sessions of radiotherapy (in patients older than 50 years of age) to the standard six week treatment. They found no difference in recurrence or cosmesis, even for high grade and younger cohorts. Standard fractionation is however still recommended for six weeks in young women (‹50 years) and larger breasted women.

The results of the trials have signi cantly improved patients quality of life during their cancer treatment. Short course radiotherapy reduces nancial burden and it also improves patients psychological wellbeing allowing them a more rapid return to work and family life.