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Effective Health Care Program

Effectiveness of Noninvasive Diagnostic Tests for Breast Abnormalities

Systematic Review Archived

Archived: This report has been updated.

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Since the advent of mammography and clinical breast examination, many asymptomatic women have had an abnormal finding. Typically, suspicious lesions are evaluated with tissue biopsy, either by excision or by needle sampling. However, only a low percentage of women undergoing biopsy actually have cancer, suggesting that many of them could avoid biopsy if a non-invasive diagnostic test were available that could, with high sensitivity, rule out malignancy. Several technologies have been proposed for this purpose, yet the outcomes of using these non-invasive diagnostic technologies remains unclear. The ultimate purpose of this evaluation is to help patients, policymakers, and clinicians determine when it is appropriate to use these non-invasive technologies.