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Breast Cancer Peek-a-Boo

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A new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute shows that some breast cancers that crop up between regular screenings showed no sign of developing on the patient's last mammogram, reports The New York Times' Roni Caryn Rabin. The study shows that these "interval cancers" are more aggressive than tumors that are simply missed. Previous studies didn't really make a distinction between missed tumors and interval tumors, says study author and Cancer Care Ontario researcher Anna Chiarelli. Interval tumors are biologically different and twice as likely to be both estrogen receptor- and progesterone receptor-negative than missed tumors, Rabin says. They are also harder to treat. Chiarelli says better screening technology is needed, and that women should immediately seek medical attention for cancer symptoms, even if they have recently had a clean mammogram.

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