Computer tool may not boost mammograms’ accuracy

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a government-backed panel, recommends women age 50 to 74 be screened for breast cancer every other year.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a government-backed panel, recommends women age 50 to 74 be screened for breast cancer every other year.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a government-backed panel, recommends women age 50 to 74 be screened for breast cancer every other year.

[REUTERS]

Using a computer tool to help doctors analyze mammography images increases the number of early, non-invasive breast cancers that are caught, but also means more women without cancer have to undergo follow-up ultrasounds and biopsies, according to a new study.

Researchers found use of so-called computer-aided detection, or CAD, has spiked in recent years. CAD was used in more than 60 percent of screening mammograms performed among women on Medicare in 2006.

But it’s unclear whether the tool – which alerts doctors to possible cancers on digitized images – ends up doing more good than harm, said the study’s lead author, Dr. Joshua Fenton.

Read more about medical advances in mammography at Reuters.

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