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Advances in health and medicine.
Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
Breast Cancer Channel
Reported November 22, 2012

Better Breast Screenings


(Ivanhoe Newswire) – Breast cancer diagnostic and treatment tools have expanded greatly in the past few years, with better and better technologies being brought into use to help breast cancer patients. One of these new technologies, a 3-D breast imaging technology called tomosynthesis, actually increases physicians’ diagnostic accuracy. 
In a study 1,192 women received a standard digital mammogram and then underwent breast tomosynthesis, the 3-D breast imaging. 
Currently, up to 30% of breast cancers are not detected by the screening mammogram while 8 to 10% of women are called back for further testing when no cancer is present, a false positive. 
Unlike the standard digital mammogram which takes two x-rays of each breast, the tomosynthesis takes multiple, low dose x-rays of the breasts and then produce a 3-D reconstruction of the breast. 
After the participants received both the standard digital mammogram and the breast tomosynthesis, two reader studies were conducted by the researchers; one in which 12 radiologists looked at 312 relevant cases, and the other in which 15 radiologists looked at 310 cases. 
The study showed a 10.7% increase in the rate in which cancer present in the breast was identified correctly by radiologists in group one, as well as a 16% increase in the rate for group two. 
“Almost all of the gains in diagnostic sensitivity with the combined modality were attributable to the improved detection and characterization of invasive cancers, which are the cancers we are most concerned about because of their potential to metastasize,” lead researcher Elizabeth Rafferty, M.D., Director of Breast Imaging at the Avon Comprehensive Breast Center at Massachusetts General Hospital was quoted as saying. 
This could mean better breast cancer screenings for all women. 
Researchers also found that the recall rates for false positives also greatly decreased; by 38.6% in group one and 17.1% in group two, which would help many women avoid receiving unnecessary further testing.
“In the clinical setting, we would expect that type of reduction in recall rate to translate into a substantial number of unnecessary diagnostic tests being avoided,” Dr. Rafferty was quoted as saying. 
Source: Radiology, November, 2012


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