Article • 02/04/2010

Mammography with lower dose

Digital mammograms deliver an average of 22% less radiation than film mammograms, according to a study partially funded by the National Cancer Institute and published in the American Journal of Roentgenology, Reuters reports. For the study, researchers analyzed the results of the 2005 Digital Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial involving 49,528 women. That trial found that digital mammograms detected up to 28% more cancers than film mammograms in women under age 50 who had not experienced menopause and women with dense breast tissue.

Carol Lee, chair of the American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Commission, said the new study showed that the benefits of digital mammograms "can be achieved with overall a lower radiation dose." She said that the level of radiation from either type of mammogram is not large enough to warrant concern and that women should not avoid recommended mammograms if the digital version is not available in their area. However, in general, lowering the dose of radiation is preferable, she said, adding, "We certainly want to keep radiation doses as low as possible and still achieve the desired goal of a good image" (Steenhuysen, Reuters, 1/22).

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