Older radiologists read more mammograms than younger generation

December 1, 2008

In Pennsylvania, radiologists 65 and older read significantly more mammograms than any other group, according to an American College of Radiology patterns-of-care study.

In Pennsylvania, radiologists 65 and older read significantly more mammograms than any other group, according to an American College of Radiology patterns-of-care study.

Dr. Catherine Piccoli, the director of women's imaging at South Jersey Radiology Associates, and colleagues sent questionnaires to a sample of Pennsylvania radiologists and to all breast imaging facilities in the state to determine facility ownership, affiliations, number and type of breast imaging procedures, equipment, staffing, and record-keeping practices. Of the 1354 possible candidates, only 70 actively practicing radiologists replied.

Radiologists younger than 45 read 32% of mammograms, those aged 45 to 54 read 58%, and those older than 55 read the remaining 32%. The average number of mammograms read per year by all radiologists was 2757. Those older than 65, however, read an average of 5349 mammograms annually.

Older radiologists and those who should be retiring are reading the bulk of those mammograms, according to Piccoli.

"And that's going to be a big problem if we don't get our younger workforce into reading mammography," she said.

She noted the small sample size as a limitation of the study, however.