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Popular mammography tool not effective for finding invasive breast cancer
Date:7/27/2011

This release is available in Spanish.

Computer-aided detection (CAD) technology is ineffective in finding breast tumors, and appears to increase a woman's risk of being called back needlessly for additional testing following mammography, a large UC Davis study has found.

The analysis of 1.6 million mammograms in seven states has delivered the most definitive findings to date on whether the popular mammography tool is effective in helping find breast cancer.

"In real-world practice, CAD increases the chances of being unnecessarily called back for further testing because of false-positive results without clear benefits to women," said Joshua Fenton, assistant professor in the UC Davis Department of Family and Community Medicine. "Breast cancers were detected at a similar stage and size regardless of whether or not radiologists used CAD."

The study examined screening mammograms performed on more than 680,000 women at 90 mammography facilities in seven U.S. states from 1998 to 2006. The false-positive rate typically increased from 8.1 percent before CAD to 8.6 percent after CAD was installed at the facilities in the study. In addition, the detection rate of breast cancer and the stage and size of breast cancer tumors were similar regardless of CAD.

The study, entitled "Effectiveness of Computer-Aided Detection in Community Mammography Practice," was published online today in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute and used data from the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium.

Computer-aided detection software, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1998, analyzes the mammogram image and marks suspicious areas for radiologists to review. Its use has skyrocketed in recent years since Medicare began covering it in 2001. CAD is now applied to the large majority of screening mammograms in the U.S. w
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Contact: Dorsey Griffith
dorsey.griffith@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
916-734-9118
University of California - Davis Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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