Digital mammography significantly lowers the radiation dose compared with conventional mammography, according to a study published in the American Journal of Roentgenology (2010;194[2]:362-369).

Background information provided by the authors revealed that a study published in 2005 found that digital mammography detected significantly more cancers than film mammography in women <50 years old, premenopausal and preimenopausal women, and women with dense breasts.

In the most recent study researchers used data from 5,102 participants in the Digital Mammographic Imaging Screening Trail (DMIST) to demonstrate that the dose received by women imaged with digital mammography was significantly lower than that received by the same women imaged with standard film mammography.

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“While the radiation dose from both film and digital mammography are low, further dose reduction is an added benefit of digital mammography over and above its ability to better detect cancer in women with dense breasts,” explained the study’s lead author, R. Edward Hendrick, PhD.

“As digital mammography has now been show to significantly lower the radiation dose, it is likely that access to it will continue to grow,” predicted Dr Hendrick. According to the press release announcing the findings, access to digital mammography continues to increase, with more than 60% of US breast imaging facilities offering digital mammography and more are acquiring digital services each month.