Digital breast screening: does it do what it says on the tin?
© BioMed Central Ltd 2008
Published: 7 July 2008
Screening women in the Southern Region of Ireland commenced in December 2007. Prior to this, screening was only available in the eastern regions and the two units in this region had a mix of analogue and digital equipment.
Although the BreastCheck Southern Unit is working with digital systems, our clinicians have come from an analogue background. Practice shows that, despite manufacturers' claims on the reduced need for certain imaging at assessment, this is not happening in reality. Historically, women recalled to assessment had a number of further views, ultrasound and, in some instances, a biopsy performed. The average time spent in the clinic for each woman was 2 hours. As this unit is digital and has only commenced its service, an audit was commissioned.
The audit will include data for a 4-month period from January 2008, involving all women recalled to assessment. The following will be evaluated: compression used at initial screen and whether low levels of compression increase the recall rate; further imaging and whether these images add any new information to aid diagnosis, especially with the advances in digital imaging; and streamlining the clinics to provide a more efficient service for our clients.