SEATTLE, May 27 (UPI) — The ability of U.S. radiologists to identify breast cancer when present increased from 71 percent in 1996 to 84 percent in 2004, researchers found.
The study, published in Radiology, also found the number of mammograms resulting in patients being called back for further evaluation increasing from 6.7 percent in 1996 to 8.6 percent in 2004.
However, the degree to which radiologists correctly identified non-cancerous lesions decreased from 93.6 percent in 1996 to 91.7 percent in 2004, but the researchers concluded this increase in false-positives was outweighed by the increase in cancers detected — resulting in a net positive effect for the 9-year study period.
Lead author Laura Ichikawa of Group Health Research Institute in Seattle and colleagues examined data from 1996 to 2004 from six mammography registries. The data included 2,542,049 screening mammograms of 971,364 women between ages 40-90.
“This is good news for women and for radiology that we have seen a net improvement in how radiologists interpret mammograms,” Ichikawa said in a statement.
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