Re­searchers: New mam­mo­gram tech­nique 30% more ac­cu­rate in pre­dict­ing breast can­cer

Jamaica Gleaner - - HEALTH -

A NEW tech­nique for in­ter­pret­ing mam­mo­grams has been found to be 30 per cent more ac­cu­rate at pre­dict­ing breast can­cer, re­searchers at the Mel­bourne Univer­sity in Aus­tralia stated.

The new tech­nique, which fo­cuses on bright spots that show up in a mam­mo­gram, could trans­form rou­tine screen­ing and save lives.

Mel­bourne Univer­sity Pro­fes­sor John Hop­per said the re­search was in­valu­able for younger women in par­tic­u­lar.

“[The tech­nique is de­signed] to get a pic­ture of their risk, both in terms of their fam­ily history, any ge­netic pre­dis­po­si­tion and their mam­mo­graphic den­sity ac­cord­ing to th­ese bright ar­eas,” he said.

“And then de­cid­ing at that stage what should be a woman’s fu­ture breast screen­ing man­age­ment.”

Re­searchers gath­ered data from 350 women with breast can­cer and about 1,000 women without. They found the bright ar­eas of a mam­mo­gram pro­vided far more in­for­ma­tion about fu­ture breast can­cers.

Pro­fes­sor Hop­per said us­ing com­put­ers to an­a­lyse data gen­er­ated by the new tech­nique could have far­reach­ing im­pli­ca­tions.

“Tak­ing the in­for­ma­tion in a mam­mo­gram, just num­bers that come off the screen, and hav­ing com­puter sci­en­tists look at that ... to try and work out what other fea­tures are in the mam­mo­gram that pre­dict risk,” he said.

“This could re­ally change mam­mo­graphic screen­ing across the world.”

TELLING SPOTS

Ra­di­ol­o­gists have long known when study­ing a mam­mo­gram, ar­eas of breast den­sity that show up as white or bright spots, are very telling.

“The bright and white ar­eas [on mam­mo­grams] do two things,” Pro­fes­sor Hop­per said.

“One, that they mask or hide ex­ist­ing tu­mours; but on the other hand, they’re telling us some­thing about women at great­est risk of de­vel­op­ing breast can­cer in the fu­ture.”

The re­search was pub­lished in the In­ter­na­tional Jour­nal of Epi­demi­ol­ogy.

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