“Deborah agreed to take part in a trial as she was keen to help other cancer patients in the future. "If taking part in a trial means others might be helped then I’m very happy with that."
A study looking at a new type of mammogram for breast cancer diagnosis
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This study compared a type of mammogram called tomosynthesis with a standard mammogram to see if it is accurate in diagnosing breast cancer.
More about this trial
Mammograms are used to screen for and diagnose breast cancer. But there can be problems with using them. For example, it can be difficult to tell the difference between what might be cancer and what isn’t. So some women have more tests to find out.
Tomosynthesis (pronounced tom-oh-sin-ther-sis) is an advanced type of mammogram. It uses digital x-rays and a computer to put together a 3D picture of the breast.
Early research has shown that tomosynthesis should give a more accurate and detailed picture of the breast than the standard mammogram. This should then reduce the need for other tests to confirm a diagnosis of cancer.
The aim of this study was to compare standard mammogram with tomosynthesis to find which was best for diagnosing breast cancer.
Summary of results
The team found that the accuracy of tomosynthesis was as good as the standard mammogram.
322 women took part in this study. Because some women had more than 1 cancer in their breasts the team had 342 areas of cancer to look at.
Each woman had a standard mammogram and tomosynthesis. They then had further tests such a sample of tissue taken (
All the scans had the identity of the women removed before doctors who specialises in reading mammograms, radiologists, examined them. They examined each scan separately a few weeks apart. And gave a score of how likely the area was to be cancer.
The team used these scores and the final diagnosis to compare the accuracy of standard mammogram to tomosynthesis. They found the accuracy to be very similar with:
- just under 91% for the standard mammogram
- just under 94% for tomosynthesis
They also asked the radiologists how useful they found tomosynthesis to be and why.
The radiologists said they found it useful in more than half (56.9%) of the cases. The reasons they gave was that it improved defining the outline of the cancer. And that it helped confirm when an area wasn’t cancer (a
The study team concluded that tomosynthesis was as accurate as standard mammogram for breast cancer diagnosis.
We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Dr Eleanor Cornford
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust