Archive for the ‘detecting breast cancer’ tag

New Medical Technology: Not Always Better at Diagnosis

September 18th, 2014 at 9:11 am

detecting breast cancer, digital imaging mammograms, expensive technology, new medical technology, Westport medical malpractice attorney, cancer, digital imaging technologrecent study, conducted by researchers at Yale University Medical School of Medicine, concluded that despite the astronomical costs being spent for digital imaging mammograms, this new medical technology may be no more effective in detecting breast cancer than previous methods.

The study analyzed data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Medicare database. The research team looked at two groups of women, age 66 years of age or older, who had no history of breast cancer over two separate two-year periods. The first group was comprised of 137,150 women who had been tested between 2001 and 2002. The second group was 133,097 women between the years 2008 to 2009.

In the first group, only 2 percent of the women were given mammograms using digital imaging technology and less than 4 percent were tested using computer-aided detection methods. In the second group, those numbers jumped to 30 percent and 33 percent, respectively. The amount billed to Medicare for the two groups increased sharply. The cost of mammography screenings for the first group was $666 million. The cost of the second group was $962 million.

Although digital imaging and computer-aided detection was used more frequently, and at a greater expense, the study found no difference in rates of cancer detection.

The research team urged more research be done to determine what benefit, if any, is had by this new medical technology. In the report, the team wrote, “Our enthusiasm for new technologies should not replace strong, consistent evidence that the benefits of the new technology outweigh the harms in a clinically important way.”

In 2009, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued a recommendation that it was no longer necessary for women who were in their forties, and who were not at a high risk for breast cancer, to receive routine mammograms. This was a contradiction of what had previously been recommended. However, there continues to be much debate on who should be screened, at what frequency, and what technology should be used.

If you have suffered permanent disabilities or illness because of a doctor’s failure to diagnose, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact an experienced Westport medical malpractice attorney to discuss your legal options.

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