ANCHOR LEAD: SCREENING MAMMOGRAPHY ISN’T IMPROVED WITH COMPUTER INTERPRETATION, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Mammography saves lives by detecting breast cancers early, when they are best cured. That fact emerged conclusively from the latest NIH analysis. But using computers to assist in interpreting routine mammograms doesn’t help. Ben Park, a breast cancer expert at Johns Hopkins, explains.
PARK: This is where we actually take a mammogram, and it can be from a digital image or just a regular plain film that gets digitized similar to what you would do with a picture on a scanner, and then use computer software to identify anything suspicious. The study that was in the New England Journal of Medicine really pointed up the fact that this technology isn’t necessarily helping us and in some instances seems like its actually worse than just doing plain old interpretation by radiologists without any computer assistance. :28Park says women can request that computer analysis of their mammograms not be performed, since it can lead to a higher rate of unnecessary biopsies. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.