Women’s imaging in the headlines

The battle against breast cancer dominated the headlines in imaging this week, with stories running the gamut from a focus on policy to cutting-edge research.

The impact of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations on screening mammography was the target of a study published in Radiology. In 2009, the USPSTF controversially advocated that women aged 40-49 should not automatically begin undergoing mammography screening, and instead make the decision individually based on an examination of the benefits and harms. Women aged 50-74 were advised to switch from annual to biennial screening.

The study honed in on the state of Vermont and found that the percentage of women there who underwent breast cancer screening mammography declined from 45.3 percent in 2009 to 41.6 percent in 2011, possibly as a result of the USPSTF recommendations.

While the Vermont study took a bird’s eye view of the decision to undergo screening, a columnist for the Washington Post wrote this week about her personal decision to opt out of mammography.

On the research front, a study published in Cancer Research demonstrated a new optical imaging technique could identify breast cancer subtypes and reveal treatment response two days after therapy administration by measuring metabolic activity in cancer cells.

And novice breast imagers got an assist from computer-aided diagnosis (CAD) systems in the analysis of breast lesions on automated 3D breast ultrasounds, according to a study published in Academic Radiology.

“Our study confirms that there is a potential benefit of using CAD, though in our study, a significant improvement was obtained only for inexperienced readers. With CAD, they increased their performance to the level of the experienced readers,” wrote Tao Tan, MSc, of Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and colleagues.

What headlines in breast cancer imaging have caught your eye recently?

-Evan Godt
Editor, Health imaging