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"Controversial technology offered to Calgary women"


Source: CBC.CA

Published: 04 Sep 2022

Category: Diagnostic Test

Rating: (2½ stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

A software program that claims to improve cancer detection is available at some Calgary radiology clinics for a fee, despite doubts about its effectiveness.
Women going for mammograms can opt to pay $20 for computer-aided detection (CAD). The program analyzes mammogram images and highlights problem areas for doctors to review.
CAD is not an insured service in Alberta, but Bonnie Fleming didn't hesitate when offered a "second opinion."...

The original article can be found at:

The original article can found in the Media Doctor archives.

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 4 of 9
Availability of Test Satisfactory
Novelty of Test Not Satisfactory
Diagnostic Options Not Satisfactory
Disease Mongering Satisfactory
Evidence Not Satisfactory
Quantification of Diagnostic Accuracy/Benefits Not Satisfactory
Costs of Testing Satisfactory
Harms of Testing Not Satisfactory
Sources of Information Satisfactory
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

The news article does a fine job of showing the doubt that is cast over this breast cancer screening tool called, computer-aided detection (or CAD). In fact, the headline, the lead and roughly the majority of body text shows the use of this tool is under great scientific scrutiny, especially in light of recent research. The quote from the study's principal investigator about the uptake of this test is particularly valuable, as it makes one reflect: why is there any uptake of a test that appears to provide less accuracy of interpretation of screening mammography?

However, there is still room for improvement in this article. It would be helpful to know the number of study participants involved in the study, as well as the number of true positives (specificity) and true negatives (sensitivity). I think the journalist who compiled this article was up to the task of explaining these terms and their value to screening tests. Maybe next time...

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