NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research NewsNCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
September 20, 2005 • Volume 2 / Number 36 E-Mail This Document  |  Download PDF  |  Bulletin Archive/Search  |  Subscribe

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Featured Article

Digital Mammography Outperforms Film for Some Women

Results from the largest randomized trial ever comparing digital mammography with standard film mammography confirm earlier indications that digital mammography is more accurate for women with dense breasts. Several other groups of women benefited from undergoing screening with digital mammography instead of film, including women under 50 and pre- and perimenopausal women.

Overall, 65 percent of trial participants fell into at least one of these groups.

"We found important breast cancers, the kind that kill women, using digital that we did not find with film, and the difference was significant in all three of those categories," said the study's principal investigator, Dr. Etta Pisano, of the University of North Carolina Department of Radiology. The study was not designed to determine whether there was a mortality benefit from digital compared with film. But, because film mammography has been shown to reduce breast cancer death rates, and digital proved to be more accurate for some women, Dr. Pisano said she "wouldn't be surprised" if it proved to save more lives in the long run.  Read more  

Director's Update

A Catalyst for Change

We have learned a great many things about cancer prevention and control over the past three decades. One of the most definitive messages we have been able to deliver is: Routine mammograms can detect breast cancers at a treatable stage and save lives.

As digital mammography machines matured and entered the clinical realm, questions arose about whether this breast cancer screening method could or should supplant film. Digital mammography can supply images with greater spatial resolution and be manipulated to more clearly define a potentially lethal abnormality in breast tissue. So there was good reason to put digital mammography to the test.  Read more  


The NCI Cancer Bulletin is produced by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). NCI, which was established in 1937, leads the national effort to eliminate the suffering and death due to cancer. Through basic, clinical, and population-based biomedical research and training, NCI conducts and supports research that will lead to a future in which we can identify the environmental and genetic causes of cancer, prevent cancer before it starts, identify cancers that do develop at the earliest stage, eliminate cancers through innovative treatment interventions, and biologically control those cancers that we cannot eliminate so they become manageable, chronic diseases.

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