Mammography is used in screening for the early detection of breast cancer in asymptomatic women. The Alberta Cancer Board (Canada) has been operating Screen Test: Alberta Program for the Early Detection of Breast Cancer since 1990. The program attracts the participation of about 21,000 women per year. In order for screening to be cost effective, means need to be developed to achieve high diagnostic accuracy.
Mammograms are difficult images to interpret, especially in the screening context. Ambiguous cases with suspicious features detected on mammograms are evaluated further with adjunctive imaging procedures, such as supplementary views, ultrasonography, magnification mammography, and magnetic resonance imaging, depending on the characteristics of the abnormality. Biopsy is recommended if the imaging methods do not lead to a definite diagnosis but indicate a high suspicion for malignancy, or for confirmation of malignancy. Objective methods for the analysis of mammographic features are needed for the development of computer-aided methods to assist radiologists in the evaluation of ambiguous features. Current research is directed toward the development of digital imaging and image-analysis systems that can detect mammographic features, classify them, and give visual prompts to the radiologist.
Online access to SPIE eBooks is limited to subscribing institutions.