Women who visit mammography facilities with higher total interpretive volumes are more likely to benefit from screening, according to a new study published in the Journal of Medical Screening. Research shows such facilities are significantly more likely to diagnose invasive tumors with good prognoses.
"This addresses an important gap in evidence that informs whether facility volume is associated with good screening outcomes for women -- such as finding more early invasive tumors rather than advanced, which helps reduce the likelihood of dying from breast cancer or having more intensive treatment," said first author Tracy Onega, PhD, a principal investigator at Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center.
Onega suggested that facility-level mammography quality monitoring should focus on tumor characteristics, and that a recommended average of 2,000 mammograms annually may be achievable now that most facilities use digital mammography, enabling small facilities to send their mammograms to be interpreted by larger facilities.
"Studies to isolate the mechanism by which volume affects quality may guide interventions to achieve similar performance gains among smaller volume facilities," Onega added. "Also -- we've now laid the foundation to study the volume benchmarks in a more granular way before this could translate directly into policy and practice changes."
Materials provided by Norris Cotton Cancer Center Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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