New study: Radiologists should read more mammograms
Feb 24, 2011
A new study published in Radiology recommends increasing the number of mammograms that radiologists in the U.S. are required to read, in order to improve their accuracy and lower false-positive rates, according to the U.S. News and World Report.
The study looked at 120 radiologists in California, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Vermont, Washington and New Mexico, and found that those who interpreted 1,500 or more mammograms per year had lower false-positive rates.
A false-positive mammogram reading would lead to a patient without cancer to be called in for an unnecessary follow-up. This inefficiency also costs about $1.6 billion every year, according to Diana Buist of the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle.
The current requirement for radiologists by the Food and Drug Administration is to read 960 mammograms over 2 years.
"U.S. volume requirements could be increased to 1,000 or 1,5000 screening mammograms per year …which would optimize sensitivity and false positive rates," said the researchers.
Yearly mammograms are recommended for women over 50 years of age, according to the National Cancer Institute. New research on exercise has also linked physical activity with lower breast cancer incidence.