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Physicians who interpret mammograms may benefit from additional training
Date:4/22/2010

need help to reduce the likelihood of unnecessary work ups.

"It is important to note that mammography is not a perfect test, even with the most expert radiologists," says Carney. "We have identified what we believe to be minimally acceptable performance levels for interpreters of screening mammography. It is also important to note that we looked at several ranges of measures, all of which need to be taken into account when identifying low performers. Physicians who interpret screening mammograms and whose performance fall outside the identified cut-points might benefit from additional training to improve their interpretive performance."

"It is true that physicians who interpret screening mammograms below our cut points may be missing cancers and doing unnecessary workups," says Carney. "We want to give these physicians the tools they need to interpret screening mammograms at the highest level."

Carney acknowledges the results of the study are controversial. "This is the first time anyone has identified criteria for low performance," she says, "but women having mammograms should not be overly concerned by these findings because every mammography facility has a designated physician who is charged with monitoring available performance measures." Carney advises all women to talk to their physicians about their concerns regarding screening mammograms and their personal risk factors for breast cancer. "If you have any concerns at all, based upon your risk, you could ask for a second interpreter to look at your film."

The study was a collaboration among OHSU; the Universities of California: San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Irvine; Washington University; St. Louis, Carol Anne Read Breast Health Center, Oakland, Calif.; the American Cancer Society; University of New Mexico, Albuquerque; Group Health Research Institute, Seattle, Wash; Stevens Hospital Breast Center, Edmonds, Wash.; Swedish Medical Center, Seattle, Wash.; Carol Milgard Bre
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Contact: Reed Coleman
colemree@ohsu.edu
503-494-8231
Oregon Health & Science University
Source:Eurekalert

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