This study compared the accuracy of interpretation by surgeons and radiologists of 1053 women who had two view mammography and a histological or cytological diagnosis of benign or malignant breast disease. Patients with large or locally advanced breast cancers who had definite clinical findings where radiology was not required to make a diagnosis were excluded. The sensitivity for radiologists was non-significantly greater (81%) than surgeons (78%), but specificity and positive predictive value was identical in the two groups of readers. Combining the reports of the radiologists and surgeons increased sensitivity to 85.4% which is a significant increase in the sensitivity of the radiologist alone, P =0.02. This study indicates that symptomatic mammograms should be read by surgeons as well as radiologists.