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Following an initial positive lab test for breast cancer, women often undergo a high number of imaging procedures, according to a new study out of the Fox Chase Cancer Center. The findings could have important implications for the health of the patient and the overall cost of treating the condition.
For the study, the researchers analyzed the records of more than 65,000 patients. They found that from 1992 to 2005 the number of patients who had multiple doctor visits for imaging procedures between their initial diagnosis and surgery quadrupled. The researchers said this represents a major strain for the patients.
"The burden to the patient is increasing substantially," said lead researcher Richard Bleicher. "The number of days patients are having mammograms, MRIs, and ultrasounds is going up steadily year by year. They're having imaging done more frequently on separate dates during the preoperative interval than ever before. It's surprising."
He added that physicians should take into consideration how these burdens can affect working professionals who would have to take days off of work and older patients who may have other infirmaries.
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