The major new study comes from the National Cancer Institute-funded Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium (BCSC), a large, diverse set of breast imaging facilities that provides data linked to state cancer registries to help evaluate breast cancer screening and diagnosis in the United States.
In 2005, the consortium released a study on the performance of diagnostic mammography in the U.S. Diagnostic mammography is used for women presenting with clinical signs and symptoms, a recent abnormal screening mammogram, or who are undergoing short-interval follow-up for a finding previously assessed as probably benign. At the time of the previous BCSC report, film mammography was the standard. With digital technology replacing film, the researchers decided it was time to revisit the old benchmarks, according to study lead author Brian L. Sprague, Ph.D., from the University of Vermont Cancer Center in Burlington, Vt. The university leads one of several active registries in the BCSC.
“Our goals in this study were to produce benchmarks that individual radiologists and breast imaging facilities can use to compare with their own practices and to convey trends in how the metrics have changed over the past 10 to 15 years,” Dr. Sprague said.
This study included data from six BCSC registries comprising 418 radiologists and 92 radiology facilities. Mammography indication and assessments were collected on women undergoing diagnostic digital mammography and linked with cancer diagnoses from state cancer registries. The database included 401,548 examinations conducted from 2007 to 2013 on 265,360 women.