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Editor's e-Note
Although mammography is still the gold standard for breast cancer screening, research continues to illuminate the value of digital breast tomosynthesis. In this month’s newsletter, we’re highlighting a recent study that found a reduction in interval cancers among women who received DBT compared with women who received mammography. While more research needs to be done, the future of DBT as a screening tool seems highly promising.

Let us know your thoughts about DBT vs mammography on Twitter and/or Facebook.

Enjoy the newsletter.

— Dave Yeager, editor
e-News Exclusive
DBT Reduces Rate of Interval Cancers

Screening with digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) reduces the rate of interval breast cancers compared with screening with digital mammography, according to a study published in Radiology. The study adds to a growing body of evidence supporting DBT as a breast cancer screening tool with important advantages over mammography. DBT works by capturing a series of X-ray images of the breast from different angles. Previous research has shown that it has a higher sensitivity for breast cancer detection than digital mammography.

The impact of these additional DBT-detected cancers is not fully understood. While they may constitute a screening benefit, they could also contribute to overdiagnosis, a term for the diagnosis of early-stage, slow-growing cancers that would not have caused harm to the patient in their lifetime. The rate of interval cancers—cancers that arise between routine screenings—offers one way to better elucidate screening benefits. They are considered more aggressive than cancers detected during a screening exam.

“Interval cancers have, in general, a more aggressive biological profile than screen-detected cancers,” says study lead author Kristin Johnson, MD, a radiology resident at Skåne University Hospital in Malmö and a PhD student at Lund University in Sweden. “This means that the prognosis is less favorable for interval cancers compared to screen-detected cancers.”

Interval cancer detection rate reporting is required in many screening programs as an indicator of effectiveness. A reduction in the interval cancer rate when using DBT may be attributed to improved detection of rapidly growing cancers with poorer prognosis, possibly contributing to lower breast cancer mortality.

Full story »
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