Compared with standard compression, using a self-compression method during mammography to reduce breast thickness resulted in a higher compression force without increasing pain or forfeiting image quality, according to research published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
“Many women dread undergoing mammography, and some may not attend or reattend breast cancer screening because of the discomfort or pain induced by breast compression,” Philippe Henrot, MD, from the department of radiology, Institut de Cancérologie de Lorraine Alexis Vautrin, Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy, France, and colleagues wrote.
Previous research has shown that allowing women to control the compression of their breast resulted in less pain and greater overall satisfaction without compromising image quality, according to the researchers.
From May 2013 to October 2015, Henrot and colleagues conducted a randomized clinical trial at six cancer care centers in France to determine if the self-compression mammography technique is noninferior to standard compression.
Compared with standard compression, using a self-compression method during mammography to reduce breast thickness resulted in a higher compression force without increasing pain or forfeiting image quality.
The researchers enrolled 549 women aged 50 to 75 years without a history of recent breast surgical procedure or treatment. Participants were randomly assigned to the self-compression group (n = 275; mean age, 61.35 years) or the standard compression group (n = 273; mean age, 60.84 years).
Breast thickness was measured in four mammographic views, including right and left craniocaudal and right and left mediolateral oblique. The researchers predefined the noninferiority margin as a difference of 3 mm with a one-sided 95% CI.
Compression force, image quality, requirement for additional views, pain and patient satisfaction were also assessed.
The researchers found that between the self-compression and standard compression groups, the mean difference in breast thickness was lower than the noninferiority margin and had an upper one-sided 95% CI less than 3 mm (–0.17; 95% CI, to 1.89 mm).
Patients in the self-compression group demonstrated higher compression force for all mammographic views than those in the standard compression group.
There was statistically significantly lower pain reported in the self-compression group vs. the standard compression group (median score, 2 vs. 3). Image quality scores were similar between the two groups. The number of additional views performed did not differ among the groups regardless of the indication, such as insufficient image quality (16.8% vs. 15%).
Participants in the self-compression group did not report any adverse effects or pain.
“Self-compression does not appear to be inferior to standard compression in achieving minimal breast thickness... Self-compression mammography may be an effective screening approach for women who want to take an active role in their breast examination,” Henrot and colleagues concluded. – by Alaina Tedesco
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.