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  • Screening mammography surpasses recommendations

Nov 2006
Until recently, radiologists had been unable to compare their individual detection rates for breast cancer with any sort of national standard. Dr. Robert D. Rosenberg and his colleagues in the department of radiology at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque recently evaluated the range of performance outcomes of radiologists across the US.

As reported in the October issue of Radiology, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) funded the project, which evaluated about 2.6 million screening exams between 1996 and 2002 from about 1.1 million women. The researchers collected the data from six NCI-funded research sites that had collected it from 188 mammographic facilities, which represent about 2 percent of the certified mammographic facilities in the US. The exams were assessed by 807 radiologists.

The average cancer detection rate was 4.7 per 1000 women, which surpasses previously established performance recommendations for the US. The average size of invasive cancers was 13 mm. The average recall rate on abnormal findings was 9.8 percent, and the range of the recall rate of the middle 50 percent of the radiologists was between 6.4 and 13.3 percent.

The researchers hope that their findings will provide good performance targets for radiologists and help improve diagnostic outcomes.

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