Breast Cancer Screenings Could Be More Effective and Less Painful, Thesis Argues

Breast Cancer Screenings Could Be More Effective and Less Painful, Thesis Argues
Breast cancer screening tests now being offered to many women are unnecessarily painful and largely outdated, according to a doctoral researcher from Lund University in Sweden. Magnus Dustler, with the Department of Translational Medicine, argued in his thesis, "Pressure distribution in mammography: Mechanical imaging and implications for breast compression," that strong compression of the breast by rigid compression plates do not necessarily result in superior, cancer-detecting images, and recommends changes that might be more advantageous to clinicians and easier on patients. Dustler collected patient data from Skåne University Hospital in Malmö, and conducted precise measurements of how pressure is distributed across the breast during a mammography. He found that “reducing compression by half has little effect on how the pressure is distributed over the central areas of the breast. And they are the ones which are most important for cancer diagnosis,” according to a press release. He also argues that flexible compression plates, which adapt to the inclination of the breast, may better distribute pressure. These plates reduce the pressure on the stiff tissue closest to the chest wall, but increase it on central breast areas to improve screening results. "Flexible plates therefore enable better image quality without increased compression force," Dustler said, noting that the equipment currently in mammograms is largely equivalent to
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