It’s that time of year again when the who’s who of medical imaging descend on Chicago for the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). A third of the 60,000 delegates are radiologists who travel from all corners of the globe to learn not only about the latest clinical findings, but also to discover exciting new products on offer from almost a thousand companies. This year’s theme was “Patients First”, recognition perhaps that radiologists are often perceived by patients to be detached from the doctor-patient relationship.
David Levin of Philadelphia presented a paper in which he analysed the effect that the 2010 recommendations by the United States Preventive Services Task Force had had on the willingness of women to undergo breast cancer screening. He concluded there had been a “chilling effect”, with an abrupt drop in utilisation in 2010 and a 4.3% decrease since then. While this is clearly of concern to advocates of screening, a recent paper in the New England Journal of Medicine has called into question the benefits of screening mammography.
Brian Haas of Yale presented a paper where he showed that by adding digital tomosynthesis to standard full-field digital mammography (FFDM) when screening for breast cancer, the recall rate is reduced from 16% to 10%. His study of over 13,000 patients showed the benefits of tomosynthesis were especially significant for younger women or those with dense breast tissue. According to Haas, “Tomosynthesis offers great promise, such as increased conspicuity of lesions and reduced false positives from overlapping tissue”.
Wendie Berg from Pittsburgh set out to answer an intriguing question: Could hand-held ultrasound serve as a primary test for breast cancer in developing countries without access to X-ray mammography? Using data from 21 sites in the USA, Canada and Argentina, she concluded: “The combination of mammography and breast ultrasound is better than either alone, but if mammography is unavailable, breast ultrasound is of benefit”. Rachel Brem presented research on the benefits of using automated breast ultrasound (ABUS) in conjunction with FFDM and showed that in a study of 15,000 asymptomatic women 112 cancers were detected, 30 of which were diagnosed by ABUS alone.
This was an ideal platform for GE Healthcare to showcase its new ABUS system, having recently acquired U-Systems. CapeRay was not at RSNA this year but we plan to be there in 2013 to launch our dual-modality system, PantoScanner Aceso.