Surgery may reveal early cancer risk.

Position:Breast Reduction

Twelve percent of breast reduction patients may have abnormal pathologies placing them at an increased risk of developing breast cancer, suggests a study by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Arlington Heights, III. In addition, the researchers found it more cost effective to screen breast reduction patients of all ages, not just those who are over 40, the age when routine screening mammography is recommended.

Surgeons who perform breast reductions usually have the removed tissue tested for abnormalities. While the screening of each patient may detect breast cancer early, it also escalates the overall cost.

"We are in a tumultuous time in medicine when cost is an important factor. Pressure from insurance companies and general administrators often force physicians to consider the cost of care when treating a patient," admits Kristin Stueber, author of the study.

"However, detecting breast cancer as early as possible reduces treatment costs and saves lives. In the end, we found that, although it may cost more up front to screen each breast reduction patient for cancer, we saved money and helped patients to get treatment sooner."

In the study, 12% of the patients tested, ranging from 14 to 73 years old, had abnormal pathology reports indicating...

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