The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas on September 18, 2002 · Page 8
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The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas · Page 8

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Wednesday, September 18, 2002
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A8 • WEDNESDAY • SEPTEMBER 18,2002 • THE HAYS DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON Study outlines trouble with false positives in mammogram readings By PAUL RECER ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON — Some radiologists report false positive cancer readings in mammogram X-rays almost 16 percent of the time, with younger and more recently trained doctors making more interpretation errors than their more experienced colleagues, a study found. The report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute said the rate of false positives could be reduced significantly if radiologists always could compare films from previous mammogram screenings. Dr. Joann Elmore of the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle said the rate of false positives — breast cancer mammogram screenings that require follow-up tests — are becoming increasingly common in the United States, but it should not discourage women from having annual screenings. "Mammography is not a perfect test (for breast cancer), but it is the best test we have," said Elmore, first author of the study. "Women should realize that they have a 10 percent chance of being called back for additional tests." The results of the study, she said, carry this message: Women should continue to have rnamrno- grams, but they should try to return to the same testing facility each time so radiologists can compare past test films. False positives are reduced by about 70 percent when radiologists compare current films with images from past tests, Elmore said. The study involved an evaluation of mammogram readings from 2,169 women by 24 radiologists in a community clinic practice from the years 1985 to 1993, which gave time for follow-up studies of the patients. The study analyzed the rate of false-positive interpretations by the doctors, then related that to the experience and training of the radiologists and to the age and other characteristics of the patients. It found that the false-positive rate ranged from 2.6 percent to 15.9 percent. But when this rate was adjusted for the effect of patient characteristics, such as age, the false-positive rate dropped to 3.5 percent to 7.9 percent. Age affects the false-positive rate because breast tissue is denser in younger women, which makes their mammograms more difficult to interpret. The study found that doctors who graduated from medical school in the past 15 years had false-positive rates two to four times higher than more experienced doctors. Elmore suggested the young doctors might have had training that concentrated on finding cancer without emphasizing that false positives "can cause a lot of women who don't have breast cancer to be called back" for additional tests. Older doctors also have more experience, she said, and "experience matters." The threat of malpractice lawsuits could affect mammogram interpretations by causing doctors to err on the side of caution, said Elmore. Mammography "is one of the top causes of medical malpractice allegations," Elmore said. Although the study determined which of the doctors had the most false positives, it could not determine which of the doctors was most accurate in detecting cancer. Out of the 2,169 mammogram readings, 45 cases of breast cancer were verified. False positives usually result in women being called back for added tests, which can be limited Re-reading mammograms The rate of false-positive mammography results varied a great deal among 24 radiologists who interpreted 8,734 exams. Percent ol false-positive results 2 6 10 14 18 SOURCE: Journal of the National Cancer.Institute ASSOCIATED PRESS to examination by a specialist or to additional X-ray exams. For some women, the callback results in a biopsy, removal of a small bit of breast tissue for microscopic examination. This is the "gold standard" for evaluating suspicious lesions detected with mam- mograms, Elmore said. In any case, false positive carry a heavy psychological and financial burden for many women, experts say. Elmore said a women has only a 50 percent chance of having a single false positive in 10 annual mammography tests. Among those called back for more tests, only a small percentage will be diagnosed with cancer, she said. In the United States, the average woman has a one-chance-in- eight lifetime risk of cancer, she said. Minimum-wage earners struggle to find rr j LI 1 ' :; '• "•'•">•• 'S-;->-*' ! ---- : -•••• •-••-• •••'• ••.-;:-,••«•:.•• ^v.ya?s«ei affordable housing, advocacy group says WASHINGTON (AP) — Nowhere in the country could a minimum-wage employee afford to pay rent on a two-bedroom home, an advocacy group said today. And in three-quarters of the country, even two full-time, minimum-wage jobs couldn't pay for such housing. The National Low Income Housing Coalition, in its annual "Out of Reach" report, found that the average U.S. employee must make nearly three times the federal minimum wage, or about $14.66 an hour, to afford a modest two-bedroom rental and still pay for food and other basic needs. About one-third of the nation's households are renters, said the Washington-based advocacy group. In the four years since the coalition began its study, the gap between wages and rents has widened, both during times of economic expansion and recession. "Even as the homeownership rate rises, access to good, affordable rental housing diminishes," Happy 'B'vitkday the report said. "Eventually the number of people who succeed as renters will become so small that the pool of potential homeowners will evaporate." Sheila Crowley, the coalition's president, said the problem of finding affordable housing is felt throughout the nation. "Some places are worse than others, but nowhere is housing affordable," she said. The coalition favors increased federal spending on affordable housing and raising the minimum wage to address the issue. Last year, about 2.2 million workers earned the federal minimum wage of $5.15 an hour or less, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Sen. Paul Sarbanes, the Maryland Democrat who chairs the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, called the lack of affordable housing a national crisis. "When housing is unaffordable, families are forced to double No matter how old you are, you CAN get your high school diploma at the Learning Center. Call 623-2426 to enroll. Remember, it's FREE! or triple up, crowding into places meant for far fewer people. They live in substandard housing, or they must forgo other necessities," he said in a statement. "Families should not have to choose between rent and food, or rent and medications." The coalition's study is based on the Department of Housing and Urban Development's determinations of "fair market rent" in states, counties and metropolitan areas. "Each jurisdiction's "housing wage" was then established by calculating how much a person would need to earn per hour to pay no more than 30 percent of income for those rents. HUD considers housing affordable when it costs 30 percent or less of gross income. TRAUER INSURANCE AGENCY 2705 Vine St. Suite 8 Hays, KS 67601 Introduces New Agent MIKE FLAX Call Mike, Duane, Chris or Therese for all your Crop Insurance needs 785-628-2372 or toll free 800-569-0156 Serviced by Rain and Hail, L.L.C. & For Subscribing to The Hays Daily News CHARGE IT! You may use your Visa, Mastercard or University Card to pay for your subscription to The Hays Daily News. C U A![ 628-1081 OUT OF TOWN CALL 1-800-657-6017 Consumer prices rise 0.3 percent in August, largest gain in four months By JEANNINE AVERSA ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON — Consumer inflation rose 0.3 percent in August, the largest advance in four months, lifted by higher prices for energy products, clothing and tobacco. The advance in the Consumer Price Index, the government's most closely watched inflation gauge, followed a tiny, 0.1-percent rise in July, the Labor Department reported today. Excluding energy and food prices, which tend to bounce around a lot from month to month, the "core" rate of inflation also rose by 0.3 percent in August, up from a 0.2 percent increase in the previous month. "Currently, inflation is not yet flashing red but a lighter shade of yellow," said Richard Yamarone, economist with Argus Research Corp. In other economic news, the Commerce Department reported that the U.S. trade deficit declined to $34.6 billion in July as exports rose for a fifth straight month, helped by a record level of overseas sales of American-made cars and parts. Economists hope that the steady rise in exports could signal that better days are ahead for American manufacturers, the hardest hit sector in last year's recession. The latest readings on inflation were slightly worse than the 0.2- percent rise that many analysts were predicting for both overall inflation and the core inflation rate. The Federal Reserve, trying to restore the economy back to full health, has said economic weakness is a bigger risk for the economy than inflation. In making that determination, Fed policy-makers held the door open to future interest rate reductions if economic conditions worsen. So far this year, the Fed has decided to hold short-term rates at four-decade lows. Many analysts predict the Fed will do so again at its next meeting on Sept. 24. The 0.3-percent rise in overall consumer prices in August was the largest increase since April, when they rose by 0.5 percent. Energy prices last month jumped by 0.6 percent, following a 0.4-percent increase in July. Crude oil recently has been bumping up against $30 per barrel _ as tensions between the United States and Iraq heightened worries about possible supply disruptions. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries opens a meeting Thursday to discuss production levels. OPEC ministers were largely lined up today against an oil production increase being pushed by consumers in the West, but the most important player, Saudi Arabia, would not say publicly which way it will go. The CPI report showed that fuel oil prices shot up 2.1 percent in August. Electricity costs went up by 0.6 percent and gasoline prices rose 0.5 percent. Natural gas prices went down by 0.3 percent. For the first eight months of this year, overall consumer prices rose at an annual rate of 2.7 percent, compared with a 1.6-percent increase for all of 2001. A big factor behind this advance is rising energy prices. Last year, energy prices fell 13 percent. So far this year, they are rising at a rate of 13.5 percent. Another factor in the rise in consumer inflation in August was a strong 1.1-percent increase in clothing costs. Odds And Ends Store Closed All Day Wednesday to Re-Merchandise And to Take One Last Cut on Remaining Inventory Save At least 50% - 60% AND UP TO 70% OFF Our Greatest Sale Ever Must And Will End Sunday at 5 p.m. Ellis Furniture Galleries 107 West 9th Street- Ellis Thurs. - Fri. - Sat. 10 • 5:30, Sun. I - 5 GREAT (750,000 GOING OUT OF BUSINESS SALE! °Bedroom Sets °Dinette Sets °Dining Rooms Lamps 'Bedding By Sealy And Many One-of-a-Kind Items Hurry For Best Selection NO REASONABLE SALE ENDS SUNDAY 5 P.M. i All Items subject to prior salel ODLSCo.2002

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