Researchers at San Luis Diagnostic Center in San Luis Obispo, California, have found that the use of digital mammography equipment alone is responsible for an increased number of breast cancers detected at a community-based mammography facility.
They found that there was a significant increase in the number of breast cancers detected following the switch from film-screen to digital mammography.
The number of cancers detected prior to the switch averaged between 4.1-4.5 cancers per 1,000 women imaged.
Following the switch, the cancer detection rate increased to 7.9 cancers per 1,000 women imaged, and has remained high.
The researchers used an auditing system to evaluate breast cancer detection rates.
"Surprisingly, sixty to seventy percent of screening facilities in the United States are still using film-screen mammography. This is a disadvantage because digital mammography offers considerable advantages over film-screen mammography," said the lead author of the study.
He added: "I would certainly encourage patients who are being screened to look for facilities that have digital technology because it is faster and has a higher cancer detection rate. There is a need for more studies like ours to confirm our findings.
The study has been published in the August issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.