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  • Study: More Data Needed on Digital Mammography
Jun 2003
LANSING, Mich., June 11 -- There is not enough evidence that digital mammography is better than standard screen film mammography for the early detection of breast cancer, according to new research by 12 members of The Michigan Cancer Consortium (MCC), a partnership of 80 private and public organizations working to reduce cancer in the state.

Vicki Rakowski, MCC co-chair and executive vice president of medical affairs for the American Cancer Society, Great Lakes Division Inc., said, "Since January, 2000, when the US Food and Drug Administration approved digital mammography for clinical use, it has been a topic of controversy and confusion among consumers, the health care providers who advise them and health facilities considering the purchase of the technology," added Rakowski. "We now have a current, succinct summary about the issue."

The National Cancer Institute is conducting a study called the Digital Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial to shed more light on the issue, but results will not be available until 2004 or 2005, Rakowski said. The study will enroll and track 49,500 women and will evaluate all available digital mammography systems. "Until those data are analyzed, we will not know if there is additional benefit to women from digital screenings or an improvement in the accuracy of breast cancer detection," she said.

The MCC study found potential advantages to digital screening, including lower biopsy rates, better contrast resolution, the ability to manipulate an image to optimize diagnostic capability, the ability to store and transfer images electronically and faster results. Potential disadvantages include a lower spatial resolution than on traditional film, high cost and a higher operator learning curve.

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