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Mammogram Could Be A Double Screening

January 21, 2011
Written by: , Filed in: Breast Imaging
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While they’re getting a mammogram, women could also be getting screened for advanced kidney disease, according to a study published online this week in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

W. Charles O’Neill, MD, professor of medicine and associate professor of physiology at Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues reviewed routine mammograms of 71 women with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and a matched group of women without kidney disease.

Of the kidney patients’ mammograms, 63 percent showed breast arterial calcifications. Among the mammograms of the women with healthy kidneys, only 17 percent showed such calcifications.

“Breast arterial calcification is a specific and useful marker of medial vascular calcification in chronic kidney disease (CKD), and its prevalence is markedly increased in ESRD and advanced CKD,” the researchers wrote.

In other breast cancer-related news, breast cancer patients who have a strong social support system in the first year after diagnosis live longer and are less likely to suffer a recurrence of cancer, according to researchers undertaking the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survivor Study (SBCSS).

The SBCSS is a large, population-based review of female breast cancer survivors in China. The Shanghai Institute of Preventive Medicine and Vanderbilt University Medical Center have been conducting it since 2002. The quality-of-life study derived from the SBCSS was published last month in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

“We found that social well-being in the first year after cancer diagnosis is an important prognostic factor for breast cancer recurrence or death,” said Meira Epplein, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and lead author. “This suggests that the opportunity exists for the design of treatment interventions to maintain or enhance social support soon after diagnosis to improve disease outcomes.”

Six months after diagnosis, the women were surveyed about physical issues (sleep, eating, pain, etc.), psychological health, social well-being, and material comfort. Only social well-being was significantly associated with decreased risk of dying or recurrence. The women who scored highest in social well-being had a 48 percent reduction in the risk of cancer recurrence and a 38 percent reduction in the risk of death compared with the women who scored lowest.

Related seminar: Breast & Women’s Imaging Seminar

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