New milk duct test for breast cancer shows early promise

Friday, April 27th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(London-AP) -- Preliminary research points toward a way to spot breast cancers that mammograms miss in younger women.

The method involves injecting saline solution through the nipples to dislodge cells in milk ducts, where nearly all breast cancers start.

The test detected abnormalities in the breast fluid of 17 out of 20 women with confirmed invasive breast cancer. In a group of 45 healthy women, the test produced five false positives. Two women with normal mammograms whose duct fluid test was positive were subsequently diagnosed with breast cancer.

Mammograms are good at detecting cancer in post-menopausal women. But spotting tumors in women under 40 is tougher because the breast tissue is more dense.

The Johns Hopkins research is in a British journal, The Lancet.