In the past ten years, there has been a push to improve early detection of breast cancer by providing radiologists with computer assistance in assessing screening mammograms. A large variety of modern image analysis techniques have been proposed for automatically detecting and classifying anomalies in mammograms. Although much of the work has not been focused on the critical issues and there have been problems in comparing the performance of the various proposed techniques, substantial progress has been made. The field is now at the critical point of emerging from a state where the goal was to prove feasibility to a stage where the full potential of computer assistance can be realized. The three ingredients driving this transition are (1) recent studies which firmly establish a positive effect of computer assistance on assessing mammograms, (2) winning US FDA approval of the first commercial product for providing such assistance, and (3) the advent of direct digital image acquisition for screening mammography.