Who is Reading Your Mammogram?

Not all mammogram facilities are equal in quality of staff performing the screenings, the equipment and who is reading your mammogram.

It doesn’t matter where your referral comes from. It does matter where you have your mammogram. You need to do your due diligence. You need to check out the facility recommended to you by a health care professional or a friend.

You want to make sure that you choose a facility that is accredited under the Mammography Quality Standards Act.  The American College of Radiology (ACR) is the accrediting body for most states. It has requirements that facilities must meet in order to be awarded accreditation.

Go to the ACR  website (http://www.acr.org) where you can search for facilities in your vicinity that are accredited to perform your mammogram.

When you search, look for a facility that has qualified as a “Breast Imaging Center of Excellence.”  Even if it is a distance from your home, it is worth the travel. Why? Because, if you need additional testing, following your mammogram, these facilities can perform what is needed and you will not need to go to another facility. This really cuts down on the stress of having to schedule tests elsewhere and then wait to be seen.

It really does matter who reads your mammogram. You want specialty-trained breast radiologists because research has proven that they find significantly more cancers, and at earlier stages, than the general radiologists.

At the time you make an appointment for your mammogram, ask if the center has radiologists who have completed fellowships in breast imaging, or who read breast imaging studies for at least half of their weekly work hours.

If they do not have radiologists with these credentials you may want to continue your search until you find a facility with radiologists with these credentials. Ask that your mammogram be read by a radiologist that has these credentials.

Take the names of those who meet this criteria and ask that one of these doctors read you mammogram on the day of your appointment.

When you receive your mammogram report, be sure that the signature is that of one of the radiologists that meets the criteria you requested. If it is not, call the facility and ask for the administrator, express you concern and ask that one of the doctors you requested read your mammogram.

You have the right to ask and receive the best mammogram, read by the most qualified radiologist.

Source: Stacey Vitiello, MD, radiologist , online article, http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/post-author/stacey-vitiello

This entry was posted in American College of Radiology, Breast Cancer, breast cancer research, fellowships in breast imaging, mammography, Mammography Quality Standards Act, Monday's with Jean Campbell, Navigating Breast Cancer, radiologist, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , .