Breast Cancer Advice. Keep up to date with the latest information and treatment of breast cancer.
A Member of the Healthscout Network
 Printer Friendly  Send to a Friend

Facility Characteristics Influence Mammography Accuracy

Where screening is performed as important as who interprets results, study finds

WEDNESDAY, June 11 (HealthDay News) -- The accuracy of mammography screening is affected by certain characteristics of the facility where it's performed, a U.S. study finds.

Researchers looked at data from 44 sites that performed 484,463 screening mammograms on 237,669 women between 1992 and 2002.

Related Stories
New Screening Catches More Breast Cancers
Breast Cancer Drug Not Tied to Cognitive Decline: Study
Normal Cells May Predict Cancer Virulence
Related Videos
A Welcome Message from Survivor PJ Hamel
Smother Says "Cut!"
Maryann and Paula
Related Slides
Breast Cancer
Breast Self-Exam

Of those women, 2,686 were diagnosed with breast cancer. On average, breast cancer was identified when it was present (sensitivity) in 79.6 percent of breast cancer cases that occurred within one year. Mammograms were correctly identified as cancer-free (specificity) 90.2 percent of the time.

The likelihood of cancer in women who were referred for additional imaging or evaluation due to an abnormal mammogram was 4.1 percent. On average, 38.8 percent of women referred for a biopsy were found to have cancer.

The analysis revealed that the likelihood of cancer among women with any additional evaluation, or those referred for biopsy, varied substantially between facilities. There were also differences in the probability that a mammogram was accurately read as cancer-free, but no variations in the likelihood that a cancer was identified when it was present.

Certain kinds of facility had a higher measure of mammogram screening accuracy, including those that offered screening mammograms only versus those that offered diagnostic and screening mammograms, and those that had a breast imaging specialist reading the mammograms versus those that did not.

The study was published in the June 10 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

If these findings are confirmed in future studies, they could help both patients and mammography facilities, Dr. Stephen Taplin, of the National Cancer Institute, said in a prepared statement.

"Understanding how facility characteristics influence interpretive accuracy is important, because it could allow women and physicians to choose a mammography facility based on characteristics that are more likely to be associated with higher quality. Radiologists could also change the facilities' structures or processes to included practices that improve interpretive accuracy," the study authors wrote.

Previous research has shown that patient characteristics, such as age, and the experience and other characteristics of the radiologist who interprets the mammograms, affect the accuracy of screening mammograms.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about screening mammograms.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, news release, June 10, 2008

Copyright © 2008 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.
Last updated 6/11/2008

Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is for educational purposes only and does not serve as a replacement for care provided by your own personal health care team. This website does not render or provide medical advice, and no individual should make any medical decisions or change their health behavior based on information provided here. All pertinent content provided on this website should be discussed with your personal physician to evaluate whether it has any relevance to or impact on your specific condition. Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk.

Sep 5, 2008
Powered By HealthLine
New! For timely and trustworth health information, expert advice and much more, visit Breast Cancer Connection
Patient Guide
Health Videos
Health Encyclopedia
Health News Archive
Affiliate Information
HealthScout Network
Contact Us
Privacy Policy
Terms of Use

We comply with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health
verify here.
About The HealthScout Network Contact Us
Copyright 2001. The HealthCentralNetwork, Inc. All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy  Terms of Service  

To find more information on specific conditions, please visit our partner sites: