[MOL] A 'Pap Smear' For Breast Cancer? [00263] Medicine On Line

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[MOL] A 'Pap Smear' For Breast Cancer?

A 'Pap Smear' For Breast Cancer? A New Test May Help Identify
    Cancers Long Before Tumors Develop
    [09/05/2000; Washington Post]

As important as mammograms are, they don't always catch cancer
before it has spread, and they can miss the disease in its earliest
stages. But a new breast cancer test may soon offer another screening
option, one that's especially useful for women at high risk.

The test, called ductal lavage, analyzes cells from the lining of
the milk ducts to determine if they are normal, precancerous or
cancerous. Since it is widely believed that nearly all breast
cancers begin in the ducts, the test could become a powerful early
screening tool. 

"This test is like a Pap smear. It gives us access to the sites
where breast cancer starts before the cells have a chance to develop
into a tumor," said surgeon Susan Love, co-founder of Pro-Duct Health,
the company manufacturing the test. She is also author of "Dr. Susan
Love's Breast Book" (Perseus Publishing). "By the time a tumor appears
on a mammogram, it has been growing in the breast for eight to 10 years."

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