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Ontario Research On Breast Screening Technology Leads To Province Wide Changes With Support From Breast Screening Clinics
Study finds digital direct radiography and screen film more effective than computed radiography at detecting breast cancer
Posted on 2013/05/14

An independent study led by a Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) lead research scientist examining the technology used for mammography has found that digital direct radiography (DR) and screen film are significantly more effective than digital computed radiography (CR) at detecting breast cancer.

The study – funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance, and published today in Radiology – analyzed 816,232 screens of 688,418 women who were screened in Ontario from 2008 to 2009 and concluded that screening with CR could result in about 10 fewer cancers detected per 10,000 women screened.

"Based on this evidence, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has accepted Cancer Care Ontario’s recommendations to transition all mammography with CR technology to DR technology in order to maintain its commitment to continuous quality improvement to cancer screening in Ontario," says Dr. Linda Rabeneck, Vice President of Prevention and Cancer Control, CCO. "We applaud this decision, which will ensure that women in Ontario continue to receive the highest quality care possible."

Women can receive information from the clinic where they were last screened to find out what type of mammography technology they were last screened with and their choices regarding their next screening appointment. A list of all clinics that offer breast mammography is available at Women can also contact Cancer Care Ontario at 1-800-668-9304 for more information.

"It is important to note that the chance of having an undiagnosed cancer in women who have been screened with mammography using CR is extremely low," says Dr. Rabeneck. "If women have any questions regarding their screening options, we encourage them to follow up with the clinic where they received their last mammogram. Mammography clinics in Ontario have consistently provided good quality care and are well positioned to speak to women about this change in technology."

Screening finds breast cancer earlier, when there are more treatment options and an improved chance of survival. Breast cancer death rates for Ontario women have decreased by 37 percent between 1990 and 2008 for women 50 to 74 years of age. This reduction may be the result of better treatments and increased screening with mammography. In Ontario, 88 percent of women are alive and well five years after the diagnosis of breast cancer.

Cancer Care Ontario – an Ontario government agency – drives quality and continuous improvement in disease prevention and screening, the delivery of care and the patient experience, for cancer, chronic kidney disease and access to care for key health services. Known for its innovation and results-driven approaches, CCO leads multi-year system planning, contracts for services with hospitals and providers, develops and deploys information systems, establishes guidelines and standards and tracks performance targets to ensure system-wide improvements in cancer, chronic kidney disease and access to care.

Media contact:
Tori Gass, Senior Public Relations Advisor
Phone: 1-855-460-2646

Last modified: Tue, May 14, 2013
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