Materials and Methods: 15 breast readers were asked to interpret a test set of 29 normal screening mammogram cases and classify them by rating the difficulty of the case on a five-point Likert scale, identifying the salient features and assessing their suitability for single reading. Using the False Positive Fractions from a previous study, the 29 cases were classified into 10 "low", 10 "medium" and nine "high" difficulties. Data was analyzed with descriptive statistics. Spearman's correlation was used to test the strength of association between the difficulty of the cases and the readers’ recommendation for single reading strategy.
Results: The ratings from readers in this study corresponded to the known difficulty level of cases for the 'low' and 'high' difficulty cases. Uniform ductal pattern and density, symmetrical mammographic features and the absence of micro-calcifications were the main reasons associated with 'low' difficulty cases. The 'high' difficulty cases were described as having ‘dense breasts’. There was a statistically significant negative correlation between the difficulty of the cases and readers’ recommendation for single reading (r = -0.475, P = 0.009).
Conclusion: The findings demonstrated potential relationships between certain mammographic features and the difficulty for readers to classify mammograms as 'normal'. The standard Australian practice of double reading was deemed more suitable for most cases. There was an inverse moderate association between the difficulty of the cases and the recommendations for single reading.