Mammographic detection of recurrent cancer in the irradiated breast

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1987 Jan;148(1):39-43. doi: 10.2214/ajr.148.1.39.


Recurrence of cancer in the irradiated breast is an uncommon but potentially curable problem. Posttreatment mammograms were studied in 45 patients who had biopsies of an irradiated breast for suspected local recurrence to evaluate the usefulness of mammography in detecting such recurrences. Of 23 biopsy-proven recurrences, eight (35%) were detected by mammography only, nine (39%) were detected by physical examination only, and six (26%) were detected by both. Mammographic findings in recurrent malignancy included microcalcifications in six, microcalcifications associated with a mass in four, soft-tissue masses in three, and inflammatory changes in one. The results show that mammographic follow-up is complementary to physical examination in the detection of local recurrence in women who have undergone radiation therapy for early breast cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Breast Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Mammography*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / diagnostic imaging*