- Breast cancer screening program
Why attend a breast cancer screening program?
As of today, breast cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer in women. There are about 2 million new cases yearly around the globe, including about 60,000 new cases per year in France. According to the French National Cancer Institute (INCA), about 59,000 new breast cancer cases were detected and 12,000 women died of breast cancer in France and 600,000 worldwide in 2018. Indeed, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime. What is the consequence? About 12,000 deaths per year in France and 600,000 worldwide.
The best way to fight against breast cancer is to detect it early. Indeed, when breast cancer is detected at an early stage, nearly 90% of cases go into remission.
The cancer’s size detected during the initial diagnosis is one of the key prognoses factors and has consequences on medical and surgical care. This is why a breast cancer screening program is important.
When to attend a breast cancer screening program?
As the likelihood of developing breast cancer increases with age, a breast cancer screening program is designed for all women aged from 50 to 74.
These women will all receive an invitation letter every two years encouraging them to participate in a breast cancer screening program. They will be able to have a screening mammography and a clinical exam from approved radiologists.
This screening is not mandatory but strongly recommended.
Besides, it is also possible to consult a radiologist privately outside of the structured breast cancer screening program.
According to the INCA, the target population participation rate of breast cancer screening was 49,9% in 2017. This participation rate in 2016-2017 reached 50,3%. The European goal is 70%, in order to have a sensible impact on the death rate.
Breast cancer screening programs are 100% supported by social security insurance in France. Patients do not need to pay in advance so that all women can benefit from this screening.
How does the screening take place?
After receiving the invitation, women who want to participate in this breast cancer screening can make an appointment with an approved radiologist. A list of approved radiologists is provided.
During this appointment, a 2D mammography and a breast clinical exam will be performed.
When the mammography does not show any abnormalities, it is considered as normal. However, contrary to the individual screening, it is systematically reviewed by a second expert radiologist to confirm the first radiologist’s diagnosis.
When an abnormality is detected, the first radiologist will immediately establish the diagnosis screening report. This will enable to shorten the patient’s care deadlines and avoid a stressful waiting period.
In some countries like the USA, Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (DBT) has already been adopted in screening programs. In some countries like France, even where DBT is not yet part of the screening program, lots of radiologists are already using it daily for breast cancer detection.
Although conventional 2D mammography has sensibly improved breast cancer detection, the number of false negatives is still high.
During a breast exam diagnosis, this new technique provides a more accurate estimation of the size of tumors over 2D conventional thanks to three-dimensional images.
With its technique, 3D mammography is considered as a reference exam in the breast cancer screening program, and several radiologists have already started to equip themselves with 3D mammography equipment for their patients’ benefit. We anticipate radiologists’ existing and upcoming needs for daily use.
What is the purpose of Hera-MI?
Hera-MI’s ambition is to speed up and improve breast cancer radiological diagnosis thanks to Artificial Intelligence. AI is capable of analyzing images vertiginously fast, detect abnormalities that are sometimes hard to see for radiologists and help them in performing their diagnosis. Hera-MI has developed Breast-SlimView®, a patented clinical decision support solution for mammography.
Breast-SlimView® will enable radiologists to decrease the time they spend on non-problematic cases and spend extra time on more complex ones. Hera-MI will help radiologists focus on their core business, which is their added value, the analysis of potentially suspicious areas.