For years mammograms have been taken using the standard screen-film mammography where an X-ray image of the breast is printed on X-ray film. Over the last few years, developments in a new type of mammography, called full-field digital mammography, has shown that digital mammography might be a substantial improvement over standard mammography in some regards.
New research in breast cancer screening compared the technical performance of standard screen-film mammograpy with digital mammography. For this study, mammography screening data from nearly 4,400 subjects was examined. The results of this study showed that the average compression force was about 5% less for digital mammography and the breast did not have to be compressed quite as much for digital mammography (about 2% less compression). Additionally, the amount of radiation needed for digital mammography imaging was 22% lower compared to screen-film mammography. In contrast to these benefits, digital mammography needed more than the four normal views in about 21% of cases, whereas only 12% of standard mammography cases needed more than the four standard views. Nonetheless, even when these extra views were taken into consideration, total radiation dose was still 17% lower for digital mammography. In addition to the technical improvements in digital mammography, one earlier breast cancer research study reported that digital mammography detected substantially more breast cancers than standard mammography in women younger than 50 years of age. You can read the full paper in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Mammography is a critical part of breast cancer screening, early detection, and diagnosis. Therefore, improvements in mammography procedures are an important part of our fight against breast cancer. For many women, the fear of excess radiation exposure over time prevents them from getting regular mammograms. Using digital mammography appears to reduce radiation exposure, which will hopefully alleviate some of the concerns about cumulative radiation exposure. The video below discusses digital mammography in more detail.
In addition to getting regular mammograms in your fight against breast cancer, there are simple dietary and lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your personal breast cancr risk. To learn more, read my book Fight Now: Eat & Live Proactively Against Breast Cancer at www.fightBCnow.com.