7 Healthcast: Mammogram accuracy
They were located across the U.S. and, it seems, they had very different rates of accuracy.
In fact, the ability to accurately detect cancer ranged from 100 percent, to 27 percent accuracy. False-positives ranged from 0 to 16 percent.
Why are there so many differences?
"In this study it does show that when you have a majority of your time spent doing breast imaging and you have a lot of experience doing so, and maybe even some specialized training it, you do have a better sensitivity in catching these cancers," said Dr. Alice Rim of the Cleveland Clinic.
The most accurate were radiologists based at academic medical centers who spent much of their time reading breast images. But unlike in Europe, here in the U.S., general radiologists, ones who do everything, interpret most mammograms.
The research team suggests more training and urges women to seek out imaging specialists. But doctors say the study in no way suggests women skip mammograms.
"Please don't take this as message to not get your mammogram," Dr. Rim said.
In fact, it may give patients even more reasons to get regular screening mammograms before there's a problem to diagnose.
Again, this study looked at diagnostic mammograms, those done in women who had some symptoms. Most mammograms are done to screen women with no symptoms and those results can vary as well.
But doctors say regular screening mammography after age 40 remains the best tool in fighting breast cancer.(Copyright 2007 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)