A diagnosis invariably leads to aggressive treatment, such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy or breast removal, and so making sure that you even have the problem makes sense, say researchers from the Dartmouth-Hitchcock's Norris Cotton Cancer Centre.
And yet when they quizzed 115 pathologists about a diagnosis of atypia and DCIS, there was agreement only among 75 per cent of them, and this fell to just 46 per cent for supposed cases of atypia.
It could be lower still for women with dense breast tissue as a correct diagnosis is even more problematic. The lack of consensus in diagnoses among practitioners is "considerable", says lead researcher Tracy Omega.
"The take-home message for women is that it's not overly cautious to seek a second opinion with one of these diagnoses. In fact, it's likely to be a good idea."
(Source: Journal of the American Medical Association, 2015; 313(11): 1122)