Proof that Regular Mammography Screening Works
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There’s been a lot debate in recent years over at what age screening mammography should begin, and how often it should be repeated. Now, 29 years after researchers began a study of 130,000 women in Sweden, they’ve reported in an article published in Radiology that regular mammograms reduce breast cancer deaths. What’s more, the number of lives saved goes up with each year of screening.
And that, my friends, should end the debate over the value of screening mammography.
While this long-running study does not deal with what is the ideal frequency, it does scientifically prove that regular screening works.
If you’ve been involved in mammography for as long as I have you’ve seen the steady and continuous progress that’s taken place in this field.
Remember when we first had a film dedicated to mammography?
How about a printer optimized specifically for and dedicated to digital mammographic images?
Over the 29 years of the Swedish study, the technology we have used to screen women for breast cancer has certainly gotten better. Carestream and other manufacturers have devoted significant R&D to technological advances such as the shift from wet to dry processing and the development of digital image acquisition. We may take these technological advances for granted, but we’re now able to find more types of breast cancer at an earlier stage. We’re detecting them at smaller and smaller sizes. And we’re having a positive impact on mortality rates
At the same time, we’ve made great strides in workflow, training and techniques. Let’s not forget the importance of our patients: by getting regular mammograms, they’re giving their radiologists the historical perspective that can lead to the identification of subtle changes from year to year.
At the end of the day—this day—mammography is still the best tool at our disposal to find the most cancers. I, for one, am glad it’s a tool we can depend on.
What milestone in mammographic imaging has had the most impact on your professional life?