Mammography is used for early detection of breast cancer and the health officials recommend women to undergo mammogram tests every year and self examination of the breasts for lumps every month for early diagnosis of breast cancer. Early detection of cancer is necessary to start an early treatment which will give better treatment.
Recent research study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine has shown that the newly developed digital mammography test is better to conventional mammography in detection of disease in women who has dense breasts, in women younger than 50 years of age and in pre-menopausal women. The results have shown that in these patients using digital mammography they have obtained accurate results.
The study comparing the results of Digital Mammography and conventional mammography was done on 49,528 non-symptomatic women and the results were examined by two radiologists. In conventional mammogram the images are made on the film and in the newly developed digital mammogram an electronic image of the breast are taken and the data obtained is analyzed by a software for detection of breast abnormalities by the computer. Earlier study has limited the use of conventional mammogram in women with dense breast and this new digital mammogram will be useful in these patients. The film mammograms were developed by Fuji Photo Film Co and the digital mammograms developed by Hologic Inc., Though both digital and film mammograms detected breast cancer, the detection sensitivity of digital mammograms is higher in detecting of women with dense breasts. Digital mammograms offer better detection than film but the cost of digital mammograms is very high and costs approximately 1.5 to 4 times more than the film mammograms. Development of digital mammograms with a medium cost, which is comparative to film mammograms, is required to popularize the use of digital mammograms in breast cancer screening.
SOURCE: The New England Journal of Medicine, September 16, 2005.