Fighting Breast Cancer the Hi-tech Way

January 20, 2008
Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among women worldwide. But a new generation mammogram screening test using Computer-Aided Detection (CAD) technology is helping doctors detect breast tumors earlier than ever, making treatment more effective and less traumatic.

Breast cancer strikes more women around the world than any other cancer. More than one million women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and over 400,000 women will die from it.

This complex disease has been linked to many possible causes, making it difficult to prevent. Breast cancer is much easier to treat and cure in its early stages, but that’s when there are usually no symptoms and it’s extremely difficult to detect through self-examination. That makes regular check-ups and periodic mammograms such an important part of every woman’s strategy for good health.

Digital mammogram screening using Computer-Aided Detection (CAD) technology is one of the most important recent advances in early breast cancer detection. The technology is now being used together with traditional mammography to form a powerful detection combination tool called CAD mammography.


After an initial reading of the mammogram test film, a highly-trained radiologist uses CAD to conduct a more detailed “double-check” of the test. CAD’s pattern recognition software scans the mammography image for signs of possible cancerous tissue and tumors, adding a “second pair” of eyes to the initial assessment.


Both systems compress the breast between plates and use radiation to create detailed images. However, standard mammography images are recorded on film, which takes more time to process and review. Digital mammography, employing CAD technology, produces digital breast images using an electronic X-ray which can be viewed within seconds on a computer screen.

After an initial reading of the standard mammogram film, the radiologist uses CAD to perform a more detailed “double-check” of the test.


With the use of CAD technology, digital mammography produces brighter, highly-detailed images that show better contrast between dense and non-dense breast tissue, allowing a more accurate and precise reading of the mammogram test.

This new technology results in faster examinations, less exposure to radiation, and is less likely to produce a false reading, which traditionally required a patient to undergo a repeat mammogram.

All women should undergo annual mammogram screening beginning at age 40. Women younger than 40 should consult their doctor about necessary screening if they have any of the following risk factors:
  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Dense breasts
  • Pre-menopausal women
  • Perimenopausal women whose last menstrual period occurred less than 12 months after their previous mammogram.

Digital mammography using CAD technology is now being used at Bumrungrad International and other leading medical centers around the world.
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