Changes Coming to Breast Cancer Screening

Changes Coming to Breast Cancer ScreeningJanuary 14, 2015 by Vickie Anenberg

The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) annual meetings in Chicago featured new technology currently available for breast cancer screening. Mammography is changing, and healthcare executives should be prepared for these changes as they have the potential to impact IT funding in the near term.

During the meetings, RSNA issued a press release focused on a recent study of digital breast tomosynthesis, also known as 3-D mammography. The study of more than 25,000 women in Norway, conducted by the Department of Radiology at Oslo University Hospital, was led by Per Skaane, MD, PhD.

“Tomosynthesis could be regarded as an improvement of mammography and would be much easier than MRI or ultrasound to implement in organized screening programs,” Dr. Skaane said in the release.

As stated in the release, and a story subsequently posted by Modern Healthcare, tailored screening appears to be particularly effective for testing women with dense breast tissue. The article noted that “about 11% of the screening systems currently installed in the 8,700 hospitals and breast centers certified by the Food and Drug Administration to perform mammograms are 3-D mammography systems.”

In its article, the magazine also reported the results of the Oslo research “found that using a combination of digital mammography and tomosynthesis caught 80% of cancers in women with dense breasts, compared with the 59% of cancers diagnosed in those women who only underwent mammography.”

WBBM-TV, the CBS-owned station in Chicago, aired an in-depth story about new breast cancer screening technology during the RSNA meetings. The video and text are archived here. Of interest is that Illinois law now requires insurance coverage for ultrasound testing, in addition to traditional mammography, for women with dense breast tissue.

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