what digital can do
new study underway at the cancer center will help determine whether
digital mammography is better than standard film
Reading a standard
mammogram film is often a painstaking exercise that requires intense
scrutiny of the smallest details. Radiologists must meticulously
examine the film, which often looks murky white, to determine if
there is something suspicious in the breast that could be cancer.
This is no simple task. Sometimes what looks like cancer turns out
to be nothing serious, or the mammogram fails to detect cancer.
Some in the
medical field are investigating if there is a better way. To this
end, UC Davis and 18 other institutions are participating in a large
clinical trial that will compare standard film-screen mammography
with digital mammography for the detection of breast cancer.
we can do to improve the sensitivity of mammography is going to
save lives," said Karen Lindfors, professor of clinical radiology
and lead investigator of the trial at UC Davis. "Currently,
we don't detect 100 percent of breast cancers."
trial, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and the American
College of Radiology Imaging Network, will enroll close to 50,000
women in the United States and Canada. The American Cancer Society
and the NCI estimate breast cancer will claim more than 40,000 lives
this year in the United States and that 180,000 women will be diagnosed
with the disease.
uses computers and specially designed detectors to produce a digital
image of the breast, rather than a film image, that can be displayed
on high-resolution computer monitors. Compression, or squeezing,
of the breast is still required when digital mammography is performed.
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