Thirty-five years after mammography screening demonstrated a 30 percent mortality reduction,1 researchers are still searching for an ideal breast cancer screening tool. At the recent American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting in San Francisco, members of an Institute of Medicine panel described their recommendations to spur development of such a test. Earlier this year, the panel issued a report titled Mammography and Beyond: Developing New Technologies for the Early Detection of Breast Cancer,2 which was fundamentally a technology assessment of early breast cancer detection technologies.

A premise of the report is that mammography is the gold standard to which all emerging detection technologies should be compared. Because nothing yet has proven more effective than mammography, "wider use of mammography should be encouraged," Craig Henderson, IOM panel vice chair and adjunct professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, told ASCO attendees. Yet even though...

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