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Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

Digital Mammography is More Accurate Than Film in Some Cases

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Women's Health Weekly
via NewsEdge Corporation

2005 DEC 15 - (NewsRx.com) -- Digital mammography is more accurate than film in premenopausal or perimenopausal women.

"Film mammography has limited sensitivity for the detection of breast cancer in women with radiographically dense breasts," according to scientists writing in the New England Journal of Medicine. "We assessed whether the use of digital mammography would avoid some of these limitations."

E.D. Pisano and colleagues explained, "A total of 49,528 asymptomatic women presenting for screening mammography at 33 sites in the United States and Canada underwent both digital and film mammography. All relevant information was available for 42,760 of these women (86.3 percent). Mammograms were interpreted independently by two radiologists. Breast-cancer status was ascertained on the basis of a breast biopsy done within 15 months after study entry or a follow-up mammogram obtained at least 10 months after study entry. Receiver-operating-characteristic (ROC) analysis was used to evaluate the results."

The authors reported, "In the entire population, the diagnostic accuracy of digital and film mammography was similar (difference between methods in the area under the ROC curve, 0.03; 95 percent confidence interval, -0.02 to 0.08; p=0.18."

"However," they continued, "the accuracy of digital mammography was significantly higher than that of film mammography among women under the age of 50 years (difference in the area under the curve, 0.15; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.05 to 0.25; p=0.002), women with heterogeneously dense or extremely dense breasts on mammography (difference, 0.11; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.04 to 0.18; p=0.003), and premenopausal or perimenopausal women (difference, 0.15; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.05 to 0.24; p=0.002)."

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