Is There A Preferred Way To Detect Breast Cancer Both Digital And X Ray Film Mammograms Can Help Save Lives

Is There A Preferred Way To Detect Breast Cancer Both Digital And X Ray
Film Mammograms Can Help Save Lives

In 2018, more than 250,000 U.S. women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. This deadly disease will claim the​ lives of​ more than 40,000 friends, neighbors, mothers and​ daughters. These are staggering statistics.

However, breast cancer death rates are going down. This decline is​ largely attributed to​ the​ benefits of​ annual mammograms that enable physicians to​ detect cancer at​ its earliest stages, and​ improved treatment programs that help patients better manage their cancer.

Both digital and​ film-based mammography can identify breast disease in​ women who may have no obvious signs of​ breast cancer. Historically, mammograms have been conducted using medical X-ray film. Now, new digital imaging technologies are emerging that offer a​ complementary method for​ early detection of​ breast cancer.

The arrival of​ more digital imaging options sometimes can cause some patients to​ "wait it​ out" until their health care provider installs digital imaging systems. But the​ advice from physicians appears to​ be overwhelming: Do not wait for​ the​ latest digital technology. One of​ the​ most critical aspects for​ a​ full recovery is​ early detection, and​ it​ is​ far better to​ have any kind of​ mammogram than to​ delay or​ skip a​ mammogram entirely. the​ decision on which imaging technology to​ use should be a​ secondary issue that patients can discuss with their physicians.

"Digital technologies show great promise in​ helping to​ detect breast cancer in​ certain patients," said Dr. John M. Lewin, Diversified Radiology of​ Colorado, a​ leader in​ providing technologically advanced radiology imaging. "In fact, the​ Food and​ Drug Administration (FDA) is​ considering relaxing guidelines that may make it​ easier for​ manufacturers of​ digital mammography systems to​ bring new products to​ market faster."

Should the​ FDA adopt revised guidelines, it​ is​ possible that health care providers and​ patients could have access to​ a​ broader range of​ new digital mammography products earlier-and perhaps at​ a​ lower cost-as more competition among manufacturers may drive down prices of​ these systems.

One of​ the​ innovators of​ digital medical imaging systems is​ Eastman Kodak Company, which currently markets a​ digital mammography system for​ use in​ Europe, Latin America, Asia and​ other parts of​ the​ world. Kodak has applied to​ the​ FDA for​ approval to​ market this system in​ the​ U.S. and​ the​ company is​ conducting clinical trials of​ this system in​ the​ U.S. and​ Canada. "We applaud the​ FDA for​ examining ways to​ streamline the​ approval process for​ digital mammography products that may lead to​ increased adoption and​ improved access to​ these innovative systems," said Michael Marsh, vice president, Kodak's Health Group.

Given the​ benefits and​ improvements in​ both digital and​ film mammogram technology, there is​ more reason now than ever before to​ encourage mothers, grandmothers, sisters and​ friends to​ get an​ annual mammogram.

The American Cancer Society continues to​ recommend the​ importance of​ mammograms as​ a​ highly effective tool in​ the​ detection of​ breast cancer. What is​ critical is​ not the​ technology used to​ produce a​ mammogram, but ensuring that women age 40 and​ older have regular mammograms as​ part of​ maintaining a​ healthy lifestyle.

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