, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 676-682
Date: 01 Oct 2010

The impact of digital mammography on screening a young cohort of women for breast cancer in an urban specialist breast unit

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To compare the diagnostic performance of full-field digital mammography (FFDM) with screen-film mammography (SFM) in a corporate screening programme including younger women.


Data were available on 14,946 screening episodes, 5010 FFDM and 9936 SFM. Formal analysis was by logistic regression, adjusting for age and calendar year. FFDM is compared with SFM with reference to cancer detection rates, cancers presenting as clustering microcalcifications, recall rates and PPV of recall.


Overall detection rates were 6.4 cancers per thousand screens for FFDM and 2.8 per thousand for SFM (p < 0.001). In women aged 50+ cancer detection was significantly higher for FFDM at 8.6 per thousand vs. 4.0 per thousand, (p = 0.002). In women <50, cancer detection was also significantly higher for FFDM at 4.3 per thousand vs. 1.4 per thousand, (p = 0.02). Cancers detected as clustering microcalcifications increased from 0.4 per thousand with SFM to 2.0 per thousand with FFDM. Rates of assessment recall were higher for FFDM (7.3% vs. 5.0%, p < 0.001). FFDM provided a higher PPV for assessment recall, (32 cancers/364 recalls, 8.8%) than SFM, (28 cancers/493 recalls, 5.7%).


Cancer detection rates were significantly higher for FFDM than for SFM, especially for women <50, and cancers detected as clustering microcalcifications.