What is the role of postoperative imaging in the long-term monitoring of breast cancer?

Updated: Dec 27, 2019
  • Author: Pavani Chalasani, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: John V Kiluk, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

Women who have had surgery for breast cancer may still require breast cancer screening with mammography. If a woman had a total mastectomy, then the other breast requires yearly follow-up, because there is still a higher risk that cancer will develop in the remaining breast. If the woman had a subcutaneous mastectomy, partial mastectomy, or lumpectomy, then that breast itself requires follow-up mammography.

The first mammogram is best performed 6 months postoperatively to provide a baseline for the new postoperative and postirradiation changes. Thereafter, mammography may be performed every 6-12 months for screening and follow-up. (See Postsurgical Breast Imaging.)


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