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Annual Mammograms May Have More False-Positives

Screening Mammograms Every Two Years Cut the Chances of False Alarm, Study Shows

Digital vs. Film Mammography continued...

By the time the first such study began enrolling women a decade ago, "the horse had left the barn," says Kerlikowske, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Today, she says, more than two-thirds of accredited mammography machines in the U.S. are digital, which is more expensive than film.

Kerlikowske and co-researchers analyzed real-world data from about 330,000 women aged 40 to 79 who underwent nearly 900,000 mammograms at facilities in the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium. A little more than a third of the mammograms were digital.

Kerlikowske says her study found that the two technologies are similar in women 50 to 79. If digital had been worse, she says, "then we'd be in trouble."

Because radiologists can manipulate digital mammograms, women who opt to begin screening in their 40s might choose digital mammography to optimize cancer detection in their denser breasts, the researchers write.

The new studies appear in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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