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Are Computer-aided Mammogram Reports Reliable?

Boston - Computer-aided mammogram, a diagnostic evaluation method to detect breast cancer may not be completely reliable, and often needs a biopsy// for confirmation, a report states. In the United States alone, almost 24 million mammograms take place annually.

During a study, researchers from The University of California delved into 429,000 mammograms taken from 1998 to 2002. Seven of the 42 centers from which the mammogram reports were taken, had adopted computer-aided technology to decipher the mammograms.

The study revealed the enormous mismatch in diagnosis when computer aided technology was used to decipher mammograms. In the case of human-deciphered mammograms, 98 out of every 1,000 women were mis-diagnosed. In the case of computer deciphered mammograms, the misdiagnosis was 128 out of 1,000 women. It was also seen that computer deciphered mammograms focused on non-alarming cancers. According to researchers, there seemed to be no significant contribution using this procedure to detect breast cancer.

Therefore, there is a lot of interest in improving methods to detect breast cancer. MRI’s are found to be better in cancer diagnosis, as it could detect 10 times as many cancers compared to mammography or physical examination. But this procedure is very expensive. Yet, the chance of an MRI detecting a tumor is 70% greater compared to mammography or ultrasound which is only 30%.

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