Switch to digital mammography leads to increased cancer detection rates

August 3, 2009

The use of digital mammography equipment alone is responsible for an increased number of breast cancers detected at a community-based mammography facility, according to a study performed at San Luis Diagnostic Center in San Luis Obispo, CA.

Researchers found that there was a significant increase in the number of cancers detected following the switch from film-screen to digital mammography. The number of cancers detected prior to the switch averaged between 4.1-4.5 cancers per 1,000 women imaged. Following the switch, the cancer detection rate increased to 7.9 cancers per 1,000 women imaged and has remained high. detection rates were evaluated using an auditing system.

"Surprisingly, sixty to seventy percent of screening facilities in the United States are still using film-screen mammography. This is a disadvantage because digital mammography offers considerable advantages over film-screen mammography," he said.

"I would certainly encourage patients who are being screened to look for facilities that have digital technology because it is faster and has a higher rate. There is a need for more studies like ours to confirm our findings," said Dr. Vernacchia.

Source: American Roentgen Ray Society

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