Mammograms have been used extensively for many years. Radiologists use magnifying glasses to help in their review of the x-ray images. If suspicious areas are detected, a biopsy of the breast tissue may be required to further evaluate the potential problem. Because it is not easy to detect certain breast cancers, especially when they are small and with particularly dense breasts, some mammograms are read negative for breast cancer when there is cancer and some are read positive when there is no breast cancer (known as “false positive”).
As technology in other areas have progressed over the years, technology has also improved with regard to mammograms. One such advance is called computer-aided detection (CAD) in which computer software analyzes and interprets the mammograms and highlights suspicious areas that need further and closer observation by the radiologist. CAD software is currently used in 3 of 4 mammograms. CAD use for mammograms costs Medicare over $30 million per year.
A recent study reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute concludes that CAD software has not improved accuracy in analyzing mammograms. The study analyzed data from 1.6 million films from screening mammograms from 90 facilities in 7 states between 1998 and 2006. 25 of the facilities had adopted the use of CAD software and had been using the software for an average of 27.5 months during the study period. The data studied included women whose mammograms had been interpreted using CAD and others whose mammograms had not been interpreted using CAD software, including whether the women had been diagnosed with breast cancer within one year of their mammograms.
The study found that CAD was associated with more false positives and that CAD did not improve the detection of invasive cancers. The study also found that the cancers found by using CAD were no more likely to be smaller or at a lower stage or to have less lymph node involvement than the cancers found without CAD. Adjustments made for the patient’s age, breast density, use of hormonal replacement therapy, and other factors did not affect the results.
If you or a loved one had a mammogram that was interpreted incorrectly and resulted in injuries or damages as a result of the medical error, you may have a claim for medical malpractice. Visit our website to be connected with local medical malpractice lawyers who may be able to assist you in investigating your possible medical malpractice claim. You may also contact us toll free at 800-295-3959. Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.