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Radiologists are increasingly relying on computers to help them see abnormal tissue growth that could develop into a tumor, says Scientific American's Larry Greenemeier at the Observations blog. But a new study, appearing online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, shows that the technology doesn't really improve a doctor's chances of finding cancer and doesn't significantly decrease the number of false positives. The researchers studied data from 684,956 women and more than 1.6 million mammograms administered using computer-assisted detection between 1998 and 2006, and found that "CAD was not associated with higher breast cancer detection rates or more favorable stage, size or lymph node status of invasive breast cancer," Greenemeier says. The researchers add that it's unclear whether the benefits of CAD outweigh the risks and the cost.

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