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Medical Pearls from the Internet Medical Association


This study found that supplemental ultrasonography after mammography in women with dense breasts resulted in 0.34 fewer breast cancer deaths per 1000 women, while increasing the number of breast biopsies by 354. The cost per quality adjusted life years gained was $325 000. This cost did not include the primary care provider costs for coordinating supplemental ultrasonography.

Comment: Tests do not prevent, or cure disease. The lesson from this analysis is that supplemental ultrasonography for the vast majority of women, even those with dense breasts, is of no value and may cause substantial harm by increasing the number of breast biopsies. A much better strategy is to focus our time, energy, and money on diet and exercise. Diet and exercise approaches are much more effective at preventing death than increased medical testing.



Ann Intern Med. 2014 Dec 9    (retrieved Dec, 2014). There are currently 887 pearls in the database. While every attempt has been made to ensure accuracy, mistakes can and do occur. Use databank at your own risk. All pearls © 2019 by the Internet Medical Association. Click Here to view more medical pearls.