New research has indicated that a radiologist using a computer is just as good as two radiologists for finding breast cancer on a mammogram. These computers detect questionable areas on X-rays for a radiologist to take a closer look.
Women are screened using mammograms for early signs of breast cancer, but these tests are not always complete. Usually in the U.S., one radiologist Â reads the X-ray, and cancers are occasionally missed.
CAD, or computer-aided detection, was created to aid radiologists in finding more cancers. These computer programs, which were approved ten years ago, are used for around a third of the nation’s mammograms, but the importance and precision of the technology is being debated.
In Britain, mammograms are normally checked by two radiologists or technicians, which is obviously thought to be superior than one review. Some researchers wanted to find out if a single expert, assisted by a computer, could detect as well as two people. British researchers studied the mammograms of 31,000 women.
It was found that computer-aided detection found almost the same amount of cancers, 198 out of 227, compared with 199 for the two readers.
In countries like the U.S., computer-aided detection could increase the cancer-detection rates to the level achieved by double reading. What was found was that one reader using CAD can locate as many cancers as two readers can.
It is recommended by the U.S. government that beginning at age 40, women should get mammograms every one or two years. Authorities say that there are not enough radiologists to perform two readings, and a second look is not paid for by insurers, but Medicare pays an additional $15 for computer-aided detection.
That extra money has helped start these computer checks. More places are expected to use them as they change to digital images form film X-rays, which cuts out a step in the process.Â
This research was funded by the British government and a charity called the Cancer Research UK.