Current opinion in oncology vol:18 issue:6 pages:547-54
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Digital mammography is becoming the preferred technique for investigation of the breast. It is important, therefore, to analyze not only the accuracy of this technique in the screening and the diagnostic environment but also to evaluate its strengths and limits. In addition, communication with other specialists inside and outside the hospital is essential. RECENT FINDINGS: Recent publications of large clinical trials have shown that digital mammography is as accurate as film-screen mammography in a screening setting. Technical protocols for acceptance testing of these modalities are emerging but they are not yet complete. The literature shows that reading on soft copy may be preferred to hard copy. The high cost is still an important limiting factor in the easy introduction of full-field digital mammography in a hospital. SUMMARY: Digital mammography is becoming the method of choice in the detection and characterization of breast cancer. Today, physical and technical protocols as well as large clinical trials are assessing the performance of this technology. A lot of work remains in the optimization of the different parts of the imaging chain: exposure setting, acceptability of detectors, dedicated post processing, viewing conditions and computer-aided detection. In parallel with these developments, newer digital technologies are being explored (tomosynthesis).