St. Luke’s radiology department receives ACR accreditationPublished 10:41am Friday, August 24, 2012
The radiology department at St. Luke’s Hospital has been awarded a three-year accreditation in mammography
as the result of a recent review by the American College of Radiology (ACR).
Mammography is a specific type of imaging test that uses a low-dose X-ray system to examine breasts. A mammogram is used to aid in the early detection and diagnosis of breast diseases.
The ACR gold seal of accreditation is awarded only to facilities meeting ACR practice guidelines and technical standards after a peer-review evaluation by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field. Image quality, personnel qualifications, adequacy of facility equipment, quality control procedures and quality assurance programs are assessed. The findings are reported to the ACR committee on accreditation, which subsequently provides the practice with a comprehensive report they can use for continuous practice improvement.
“Mammography has proved to be the single most beneficial tool in detecting early and treatable cancer,” said Teresa Marlowe, director of radiology at St. Luke’s Hospital. “It has resulted in a 30 to 35 percent lower mortality rate over the last several years, according to the American College of Radiology.”
With digital technology, a mammogram is even more beneficial, Marlowe said.
“Digital mammography definitely has advantages for the consumer,” she said. “It’s quicker, offering patients the convenience of having breasts screened without repeated imaging and exposure to radiation. For the radiologist, digital mammograms provide more comprehensive visibility.
“Women with dense breasts can certainly benefit from digital mammography,” Marlowe continued, adding that many younger women and those choosing hormone replacement therapy may have dense breasts. For them, screening with digital mammography provides better penetration of the breast tissue.
While mammography may not be an exact science, a recent major study showed a 42-percent reduction in the rate of women diagnosed with stage II or higher breast cancer in those who practiced routine screening. If it is caught early and hasn’t spread to the lymph nodes, the five-year survival rate is 97 percent, dropping to 78 percent if it spreads locally, according to the American College of Radiology.
“It’s important that women not put off getting a mammogram. All women over 40 should be getting screened annually,” said Marlowe.
Even with digital capabilities, a mammogram can be uncomfortable, even painful for some women. St. Luke’s uses the Woman’s Touch MammoPad to dramatically decrease discomfort, Marlowe said. The MammoPad attaches to the compression plates of the mammography device and provides a softer, warmer mammogram.
– article submitted by Jennifer Wilson