By Kate Madden Yee, staff writer
November 12, 2013

Thursday, December 5 | 10:30 a.m.-10:40 a.m. | SSQ01-01 | Arie Crown Theater
Technologists perform handheld screening breast ultrasound just as well as physicians, which can help a radiology department by freeing up radiologists' time for other tasks, according to a study to be presented on Thursday at RSNA 2013.

p>Dr. Elizabeth Morris, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and colleagues investigated the cancer-detection and false-positive rates of a technologist-performed handheld breast ultrasound screening program. The study included exams performed on 890 women between October 2011 and February 2013.

Of the 890 women:

  • 34% were premenopausal.
  • 66% were peri- or postmenopausal.
  • 32% had a personal history of breast cancer.
  • 8% had a prior, biopsy-proven high-risk lesion.
  • 67% had a family history of breast cancer.
  • 88% had undergone a mammogram within six months of the ultrasound.
  • 60% had heterogeneously dense breast tissue.
  • 17% had extremely dense breast tissue.

The technologists' overall cancer detection rate was 3.4 cancers per 1,000 women and the positive predictive value (PPV) of biopsy was 8% -- both similar to rates reported for physician-performed ultrasound screening, Morris' group found.