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Dosimetric implications of age related glandular changes in screening mammography

Lookup NU author(s): Jonathan Beckett, Dr Colin Kotre


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The UK National Health Service Breast Screening Programme is currently organized to routinely screen women between the ages of 50 and 64, with screening for older women available on request. The lower end of this age range closely matches the median age for the menopause (51 years), during which significant changes in the composition of the breast are known to occur. In order to quantify the dosimetric effect of these changes, radiographic factors and compressed breast thickness data for a cohort of 1258 women aged between 35 and 79 undergoing breast screening mammography have been used to derive estimates of breast glandularity and mean glandular dose (MGD), and examine their variation with age. The variation of mean radiographic exposure factors with age is also investigated. The presence of a significant number of age trial women within the cohort allowed an extended age range to be studied. Estimates of MGD including corrections for breast glandularity based on compressed breast thickness only, compressed breast thickness and age and for each individual woman are compared with the MGD based on the conventional assumption of a 50:50 adipose/glandular composition. It has been found that the use of the conventional 50:50 assumption leads to overestimates of MGD of up to 13% over the age range considered. By using compressed breast thickness to estimate breast glandularity, this error range can be reduced to 8%, whilst age and compressed breast thickness based glandularity estimates result in an error range of 1%.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Beckett JR, Kotre CJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Physics in Medicine and Biology

Year: 2000

Volume: 45

Issue: 3

Pages: 801-813

ISSN (print): 0031-9155

ISSN (electronic): 1361-6560

Publisher: Institute of Physics Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1088/0031-9155/45/3/316


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