As Mammograms Go Digital, Docs Call More Women Back

Imaging changes prompt cancer concerns as experts learn the ropes
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 10, 2008 9:28 AM CDT
The transition from traditional to digital mammograms can be bumpy as doctors call back healthy women for further testing.   (
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(Newser) – As more radiologists switch from film to digital mammogram imaging, they must learn new interpretation techniques—and that means more healthy women face a dreaded recall for further testing, the New York Times reports. During the changeover, “there’s an increase in the rate of things you think are abnormal,” says a doctor. But over time, clearer digital images should cut the number of callbacks, experts say.

Digital can be better at finding tumors and telltale calcium deposits, so practices are rushing to install the new machines. But comparing a woman’s older scans to digital ones can be like “comparing apples and oranges,” says one radiologist. A seeming change in a breast may worry doctors, prompting the need for more tests—but it may have been there all along, invisible to the older technique.