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Computer-Aided Mammography Doesn't Improve Breast Cancer Detection: Study
Date:7/27/2011

By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, July 27 (HealthDay News) -- The widely used mammography software known as computer-aided detection (CAD) doesn't improve detection of invasive breast cancer, new research suggests.

But CAD does increase the chances that a woman will be called back for further testing, according to the study, published July 27 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

''All in all, we found very little impact of CAD on the outcomes of mammography," said study author Dr. Joshua J. Fenton, an assistant professor of family and community medicine at the University of California, Davis.

With colleagues, Fenton analyzed 1.6 million screening mammograms from seven states and the records of the nearly 685,000 women who got them from 1998 to 2006. Three out of four mammograms done in the United States include CAD, the authors said.

To determine if CAD aided breast cancer detection, they examined the detection rate when the software was used, and the stage and size of the cancer when diagnosed. They also looked at how many women were called back for further testing who didn't have breast cancer.

"We found that CAD has a slightly increased chance [that] a woman would be recalled unnecessarily for further testing, but it did not increase the chance that the breast cancer would be detected at an earlier stage," Fenton said.

"For every 200 women who are screened with CAD who have a second mammogram, one additional woman is called back unnecessarily for further testing," he said.

When Fenton's team looked only at early-stage cancer known as DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ), they found a trend to increased detection with CAD, but it was not statistically significant.

Overall, the detection rates with and without CAD were similar, the study said.

Use of CAD, which identifies areas of potential abnormalities so the radiologist can take a closer look,
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