Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Accuracy Of Diagnostic Mammograms Varies By Radiologist, Study Finds

Date:
December 12, 2007
Source:
Group Health Cooperative Center for Health Studies
Summary:
For women with breast symptoms such as lumps, the ability of diagnostic mammograms to detect breast cancer accurately depends strongly on which radiologist reads them, according to a Group Health study published online on December 11 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

For women with breast symptoms such as lumps, the ability of diagnostic mammograms to detect breast cancer accurately depends strongly on which radiologist reads them, according to a Group Health study published online on December 11 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Related Articles


"When a woman gets a mammogram, she wants to know that if she has breast cancer, the mammogram will be likely to detect it," said study leader Diana Miglioretti, PhD, an associate investigator at Group Health Center for Health Studies. "This is especially important when the woman has a breast concern such as a lump."

Ideally, this ability to accurately detect cancer (known as "sensitivity") would be consistently high, with few false-positives--biopsies performed despite the absence of cancer. And it wouldn't depend on which radiologist was reading the mammograms. "But that's not what we found," she added.

The research team examined how well 123 radiologists interpreted nearly 36,000 diagnostic mammograms done to evaluate breast problems, such as lumps, from 1996 through 2003 at 72 U.S. facilities, including six from Group Health, that contribute data to the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium.

For different radiologists, sensitivity ranged from 27 percent to 100 percent; and false-positives, from 0 to 16 percent. These differences were only partially explained by the characteristics of the patients and the experience of the radiologists.

The radiologists who read diagnostic mammograms most accurately (with highest sensitivity, without too many false-positives) tended to be those who were based at academic medical centers or spent at least 20 percent of their time on breast imaging. By contrast, unlike in Europe, most U.S. women get mammograms interpreted by general radiologists who interpret mammograms as only a small percentage of their practice.

"We need to reduce the wide variability among radiologists in how they interpret diagnostic--and screening--mammograms," said Miglioretti.

"A good way to do that may be to identify the radiologists who are least accurate at reading mammograms--and to improve their performance with extra training." The national Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium is working on ways to accomplish these goals, including developing an interactive training program.

"Women should get regular screening mammograms," said Miglioretti. "Mammography isn't perfect, but it's the best way we have to detect breast cancer early, when it has the greatest chance of being cured." She also urged women with breast concerns, such as lumps, to try to get evaluated at a center that has at least one breast imaging specialist: a radiologist who spends a large percentage of the time reading mammograms and performing breast biopsies.

Most mammograms are done to screen women with no symptoms for breast cancer. Previous research has shown that radiologists vary widely in how they read such screening mammograms. This new study is the largest to examine what predicts variability in diagnostic mammograms. Miglioretti's coauthors included colleagues at Group Health; Harborview Medical Center; University of Washington; University of California, San Francisco; and Oregon Health & Science University.

Grants from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the National Cancer Institute, and the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium funded the study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Group Health Cooperative Center for Health Studies. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Group Health Cooperative Center for Health Studies. "Accuracy Of Diagnostic Mammograms Varies By Radiologist, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 December 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071211234019.htm>.
Group Health Cooperative Center for Health Studies. (2007, December 12). Accuracy Of Diagnostic Mammograms Varies By Radiologist, Study Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071211234019.htm
Group Health Cooperative Center for Health Studies. "Accuracy Of Diagnostic Mammograms Varies By Radiologist, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071211234019.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Misconceptions abound when it comes to your annual flu shot. Medical experts say most people older than 6 months should get the shot. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins