Publication Abstract

Authors: Haas JS, Kaplan CP, Brawarsky P, Kerlikowske K

Title: Evaluation and outcomes of women with a breast lump and a normal mammogram result.

Journal: J Gen Intern Med 20(8):692-6

Date: 2005 Aug

Abstract: BACKGROUND: Many women experience a breast lump. Clinical guidelines suggest that a normal mammogram result alone is not adequate to exclude a diagnosis of cancer. OBJECTIVE: To examine the characteristics of women with a breast lump and a normal mammogram that were associated with receiving further evaluation, and to examine cancer outcomes. DESIGN: Observational cohort. PARTICIPANTS: Women aged 35 to 70 years who participated in a population-based mammography registry and who did not have a history of breast cancer noted at the time of their mammogram that they had a breast lump, and had a "normal" (Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System 1 or 2) mammogram result (n=771). MEASUREMENTS: Telephone survey performed 6 months after the mammogram to ascertain information about evaluation. Cancer outcomes within 12 months of the index mammogram were confirmed through linkage with a cancer registry. RESULTS: Only 56.9% of women reported receiving an adequate evaluation for their breast lump, including a subsequent clinical breast exam, a visit to a breast specialist, an ultrasound, a biopsy, or aspiration. Latinas were less likely than white women to have received adequate evaluation, as were obese women compared with normal-weight women, and uninsured women compared with women with insurance. Among women with at least 12 months of follow-up, 1.4% were diagnosed with cancer. CONCLUSIONS: Many women do not receive adequate evaluation for a recent breast lump. Interventions should be designed to improve the follow-up of women with this common clinical problem.