High-tech Mammography Debate

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Story Updated: Apr 17, 2013

Digital mammograms were the first big newsmakers, followed more recently by computer-aided detection...or CAD, as it's called.

But does this high tech assistance help women?

That's the question posed in a new study, just published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

California researchers reviewed health records of more than 163-thousand women ages 67 to 89 who received more than 400 thousand mammograms. The team looked at the associations between computer-aided detection during mammography ...and the incidence of early stage and invasive breast cancers.

Overall, CAD increased diagnosis of noninvasive cancer ductal carcinoma in situ, but also increased the number of additional diagnostic tests ordered for women without breast cancer.

CAD was no better at detecting invasive breast cancer, but did provide a greater likelihood of finding it in earlier stages.

Researchers suggest these findings will likely fuel the breast cancer screening debate....since the use of CAD increased from 3.6-percent to 60.5 percent from 2001 to 2006.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the health news that matters to you.

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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to 1.8 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools in our Step Up program. To learn more, visit www.excellusbcbs.com