Radiology in public focus

Press releases were sent to the medical news media for the following articles appearing in a recent issue of Radiology.

Skipping Mammogram Increases Risk of Death from Breast Cancer

Attendance at regular mammography screening substantially reduces the risk of dying from breast cancer, according to a large study of over half a million patients, published in Radiology.

Breast cancer screening with mammography has helped reduce disease related deaths by enabling detection of cancer at earlier, more treatable stages. Despite mammography’s well established effectiveness, many patients don’t participate in recommended screening examinations.

In the new study, led by László Tabár, MD, from Falun Central Hospital in Falun, Sweden, and funded by the American Cancer Society, a multinational team of researchers took a more detailed look at screening attendance patterns to further refine mortality risk estimates. They analyzed data from almost 550,000 patients eligible for mammography screening in nine Swedish counties between 1992 and 2016. The patients were divided into groups based on their participation in the two most recent scheduled screening exams prior to cancer diagnosis. Patients who participated in both screening sessions prior to diagnosis were identified as serial participants, while those who did not attend either screening opportunity were categorized as serial nonparticipants.

Analysis showed that participation in the two most recent mammography screening appointments before a breast cancer diagnosis provides a higher protection against breast cancer death than participation in neither or only one examination.

The incidence of breast cancers proving fatal within 10 years of diagnosis was 50% lower for serial participants than for serial nonparticipants. Compared to those who attended only one of the two previous screens, patients who attended both had a 29% reduction in breast cancer mortality.

“Regular participation in all scheduled screens confers the greatest reduction in your risk of dying from breast cancer,” said the study’s lead author, Stephen W. Duffy, MSc, professor of cancer screening at Queen Mary University of London.

For More Information

Access the Radiology study, "Beneficial Effect of Consecutive Mammography Screening Examinations on Mortality from Breast Cancer: A Prospective Study."

Duffy fig 1 feature

Graph shows cumulative mortality from breast cancer per 100,000 person-years in nine Swedish counties from 1992 to 2016 according to participation status: serial participants, who participated in both of the last two screenings; intermittent participants, who participated in only the most recent screening; lapsed participants, who participated in only the next-to-last screening; and nonparticipants, who participated in neither of the last two screenings. Serial participants experienced the lowest cumulative mortality from breast cancer as follow-up increased.

Tabar et al, Radiology 2021 ©RSNA 2021

Chest CT Illuminates Mortality Risk in People with COPD

Body composition information derived from routine chest CTs can provide important information on the overall health of people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including their risk of all-cause mortality, according to a study in Radiology.

COPD is frequently associated with obesity and sarcopenia. Chest CT is often used to characterize COPD, screen for lung cancer, or plan for surgical options. Beyond lung assessment, these exams offer an opportunity to assess obesity and sarcopenia through soft-tissue biomarkers.

For the new study, David A. Bluemke, MD, PhD, from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, along with Farhad Pishgar, MD, MPH, and Shadpour Demehri, MD, from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and colleagues used chest CT exams to study the associations between imaging-derived soft tissue markers and all-cause mortality in COPD.

The study group was made up of 2,994 participants drawn from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), a large trial investigating the roles of imaging-derived soft-tissue and bone markers for predicting outcomes relevant to cardiopulmonary diseases. Of the 265 patients in the study group with COPD, 49 (18%) died over the follow-up period.

A greater amount of intermuscular fat was associated with higher mortality rates. Existing research has linked higher levels of intermuscular fat with diabetes and insulin resistance. Higher subcutaneous adipose tissue, in contrast, was linked to lower risks of all-cause mortality.

“I expect that more studies in the future will begin looking at all information on the CT, rather than just one organ at a time,” Dr. Bluemke said. “Clinicians will need thresholds when to intervene when fat or bone abnormalities become severe.”

For More Information

Access the Radiology study, "Quantitative Analysis of Adipose Depots Using Chest CT and Associations with All-cause Mortality in COPD: Longitudinal Analysis from MESArthritis Ancillary Study."

Demehri fig. 4 feature

Axial chest CT examination in a 54-year-old participant. A, On the axial noncontrast chest CT image, the pectoralis muscle (PM) area was segmented and measured in the section above the aortic arch. B, The subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) area as the area between the PM and the skin surface on the same section was also measured and the attenuation of pixels in the SAT area was used to determine the individualized threshold for the intermuscular adipose tissue (IMAT). C, The IMAT within the PM was segmented as the areas with Hounsfield units below this threshold for the IMAT (arrowheads).

Bluemke et al, Radiology 2021 ©RSNA 2021

Media Coverage of RSNA

In January, 878 RSNA-related news stories were tracked in the media. These stories had an estimated reach of over 446 million.

Coverage included WebMD, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,, The Arizona Republic, Radiology Today, Diagnostic Imaging, Health Imaging News, Healthcare Business News, Applied Radiology, Medical Imaging, Radiology Business, Technology Times and Health Management

American Stroke Month: Share With Your Patients

Visit, the public information website produced by RSNA and ACR, for easy-to-read patient information about stroke imaging, interventional treatments for stroke and the importance of immediate emergency help when the signs of stroke occur.