The State of Mammography: Improving Early Detection and the Patient Experience
In healthcare, quality and improvement begin and end with defined protocols and accepted best practices that lead to improved patient outcomes. However, in the field of mammography screening, both patients and clinicians are currently faced with a diverse range of technologies, practices and perspectives. Since 1986, Solis Mammography has been dedicated to furthering the efficacy of mammography, and to addressing the confusion around screening recommendations and the benefits of screening.
Dispelling Industry Confusion About When Women Should Begin Having Mammograms
Just recently, for example, the American College of Physicians (ACP), reversed its guidance position from annual screenings at the age of 40 to biennial screenings starting at 50. An immediate dissenting position from the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) stated that this new guidance may result in up to 10,000 additional, unnecessary breast cancer deaths in the United States annually. This recommendation would also result in thousands more women enduring extensive treatment for advanced cancers.
Through clinical expertise, a dedicated focus on breast health, and after performing more than five million procedures, Solis Mammography has found that there are four practices that are the definitive pillars for achieving optimal results in breast health: annual mammography screenings starting at age 40, 3D mammography, SmartCurve™ Comfort Technology, and breast-focused expertise.
Annual Mammography Screenings Should Begin at Age 40
Annual screening beginning at the age of 40 results in a nearly 40% mortality reduction, compared to 23% for biennial screening.1 Today’s high-quality screenings benefit 40-year old women the most. Major studies have shown time and again that in addition to saving lives, early detection offers greater quality of life as treatment is less invasive and less costly.
Efficacy of 3D Mammography
More than 140 published clinical studies uphold digital breast tomosynthesis (3D mammography) as the most accurate screening available. It has been clinically shown to increase early detection of breast cancer by 54% while decreasing callbacks by 37%.2
A More Comfortable Mammogram with SmartCurve™ Comfort Technology
Pain is the #1 complaint that women have about mammograms. It is also a key barrier to patient compliance. In fact, 49% of women who have never had a mammogram cite fear of pain as the reason.3 However, 93% of women who had experienced pain with traditional compression systems reported that SmartCurve technology increased comfort during screening.4 By removing pain and discomfort, major barriers to compliance are eliminated.
Sub-specialized Breast Radiologists: Why Focused Expertise Matters
The interpretation of screening results is most accurate when performed by sub-specialized breast radiologists who read a high volume of both screening and diagnostic mammograms, who utilize “batch reading” to interpret mammograms without interruption, and who are audited regularly on their screening and interpretation skills through peer review.
Quality and improvement begin with consistency. By embracing clarity around screening protocols and a consistent set of best practices, we not only communicate more effectively with patients, but we also move toward improved performance in the early detection of breast cancer.