por Loren Bonner
, DOTmed News Online Editor | February 04, 2014
Digital technology has become much more common in mammography screening through the years for its improved image quality and low radiation dose, but a photon-counting technique could boost it even more.
According to a new study in the journal Radiology, photon-counting in direct radiography (DR) can make it a promising tool for mammography screening because it can do an even better job of detecting breast cancers with lower radiation dose.
"In population-based mammography screening, dose reducing techniques that don't compromise outcome parameters are desirable," said Dr. Walter Heindel, from the Department of Clinical Radiology at the University Hospital Muenster in Germany, in a statement.
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Heindel and his colleagues analyzed data from a screening program in Germany, comparing the cancer detection rates of women who were screened with a photon-counting system to those with a CR or DR system. During the study period (2009 -2010), 13,312 women were examined using the photon-counting system, and 993,822 women were screened with either CR or DR systems alone.
The DR photon-counting scan system had a cancer detection rate of 0.76 percent for subsequent screening, compared with 0.59 percent for DR and CR. The recall rate was 5.4 percent for the photon-counting method and 3.4 percent for the other methods, according to the study.
"The higher cancer detection resulting from the use of the DR photon-counting scan system is due to high detection of both small, invasive cancers and ductal carcinoma in situ," Dr. Heindel said.
The average radiation dose was also said to be lower for the DR photon-counting scan system versus conventional DR systems.
Although other studies have been done examining the performance of DR-photon-counting mammography, this study's large sample size differentiates it from previous ones, according to the study's authors.