According to a new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, researchers have found that the majority of women with early-stage breast cancer undergo imaging for metastatic cancer despite guidelines from three organizations that recommend against imaging for metastatic cancer in asymptomatic women with early-stage breast cancer.
For the study, researchers identified 26,547 women with stage I or II breast cancer diagnosed between 2007 and 2012 in Ontario, Canada.
Of those, 86% underwent at least one imaging test to detect whether the patient had developed metastatic cancer.
Specifically, imaging was performed in 80% and 93% of patients with stage I and stage II breast cancer, respectively.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, and Cancer Care Ontario recommend against imaging for the detection of metastatic cancer in asymptomatic women with stage I or II breast cancer due to the very low likelihood of metastases.
There is also a high risk for false-positives that can result in further unnecessary tests, costs, and worry.
Most women – about 86% – with early-stage breast cancer will undergo imaging to determine if the cancer has metastasized, despite international guidelines that recommend against testing, found a study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).