A new study has reinforced the view of computer aided detection as a powerful tool in finding small, invasive breast cancers (typically 1.0 cm or smaller). According to the October issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR), the use of CAD increases the ability to detect cancer in women five years younger by as much as 164 percent as opposed to when CAD was not used. Overall, the study found that detection rates for breast cancer increased by 16.1 percent.
Based on the results, the "study showed that CAD can help radiologists find these cancers in women more than five years younger - thus, helping us find the cancers potentially five 'mammography cycles' sooner," said Tommy E. Cupples, MD, the study's lead investigator of South Carolina Comprehensive Breast Center at Palmetto Richland Memorial Hospital in Columbia, S.C.
R2 Technology Inc.'s ImageChecker mammography CAD system was used for the study which is the first to prospectively evaluate in a clinical practice CAD's impact on both the size of tumors detected and women's age at diagnosis.
The new study was conducted in a regional hospital between January 1998, and December 2000, evaluated radiologists' performance on 7,872 consecutive screening mammograms before CAD was installed at the center and then compared the results with the same radiologists' performance on 19,402 consecutive exams, when using CAD.
The study measured recall rates, biopsy rates and cancer detection rates, as well as the type, size and stage of cancers found by screening with and without CAD. The number of women recalled for subsequent evaluation increased by only 8.1 percent, while the number of women in whom biopsies were performed increased by only 6.7 percent, coincident with an important increase of 16.1 percent in breast cancer detection rates.