Health

Digital Mammograms and Call-backs

There’s good news for women and breast health. Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre is the latest institution in our area to switch to digital technology for mammograms. The electronic pictures make it easier to find cancers that may be hiding in the dense tissues of the breast. But there’s a price to this progress. Doctors say more women will be called back to repeat the tests as radiologists learn to interpret the digital images and compare them to old X-rays. Dr. Martin Yaffe is one of the inventors of digital technology.

“They have to teach themselves how to recognize patterns that look like cancer or that don’t look like they’re cancer; and when there’s a new technology they basically have to re-learn things, and this takes a little while.”

Before this transition ten percent of women were called back after their initial screening. It’s a call that every women dreads – despite the reassurance that most repeat mammograms turn out to be normal.

“The important thing is that being called back after a mammogram doesn’t mean that you have cancer, it means that the doctor is really trying hard to make sure that in fact that you don’t have cancer – and don’t freak out, basically we’re trying to get better information to make sure that you don’t have cancer.”

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