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What Doctors Don't Tell You

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August 2019 (Vol. 4 Issue 6)

Biopsy for DCIS unnecessary, say doctors who’ve already stopped using it
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

Biopsy for DCIS unnecessary, say doctors who’ve already stopped using it image

Women are routinely given a needle biopsy when they are diagnosed with DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ), a benign, non-invasive abnormality in the milk ducts of the breast. But the test is unnecessary, say doctors at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, who have already stopped using it. It could also spread the abnormal tissue to the breast.

The hospital dropped the routine core needle biopsy hormone receptor test last January—and they reckon that the move would save the US alone $35m a year if all other hospitals followed suit.

The test is designed to see if the DCIS is cancerous, but DCIS is designated a ‘stage 0 cancer’, and up to 98 per cent of women who are diagnosed are still alive and well 10 years later. And the information gleaned from the test is rarely used or acted on anyway, says Pedram Argani, professor of pathology at the hospital. He described it as an expense without any justification.


References

(Source: American Journal of Surgical Pathology, 2016; 40: 1090)

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