Preliminary results from a large, clinical trial of digital vs. film mammography show no difference in detecting breast cancer for the general population of women in the trial. However, those women with dense breasts, who are pre- or perimenopausal (women who had a last menstrual period within 12 months of their mammograms), or who are younger than age 50 may benefit from having a digital rather than a film mammogram. The results were reported September 16, 2005 in a special online publication of the New England Journal of Medicine and at a meeting of the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN).
The trial, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, was conducted by a network of researchers led by ACRIN. "These results will give clinicians better guidance and greater choice in deciding which women would benefit most from various forms of mammography," said senior author, Etta Pisano, M.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Secondary goals measuring the relative cost-effectiveness of both digital and film technologies, and the effect on participant quality of life due to the expected reduction of false positives, are still being assessed and will be reported at a later date.
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