Saving Women's Lives: Strategies for Improving Breast Cancer Detection and Diagnosis


Report at a Glance

  • Fact Sheet: Basics of Breast Cancer (PDF)
  • Fact Sheet: Breast Cancer Risk (PDF)
  • Fact Sheet: Mammography Capacity (PDF)
  • Fact Sheet: Mammography Effectiveness (PDF)

More than 200,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed this year and more than 40,000 women will die. What are the most effective ways to further reduce mortality from breast cancer? What changes are needed to improve how breast cancer screening services are delivered to patients in the United States? And which technologies show the most promise for improving early detection and diagnosis?

This report from the Institute of Medicine says that one of the biggest problems facing women today is that their access to breast cancer screening is endangered due to a shortage of breast imaging specialists. Each year, more than 1.2 million American women turn 40, the age when most are recommended to get their first mammogram, but there are not enough breast imaging specialists to keep up with the demand.

While new technologies hold promise for increasing the accuracy of breast cancer detection, improving access to mammography and broadening the pool of medical personnel who can interpret mammograms offer the greatest potential for immediately reducing the number of lives lost to breast cancer in the United States.