Because of the importance of mammography in accurately diagnosing breast cancer, particularly in earlier stage cancers, and reducing its high mortality rate in women, it is essential that all mammograms be performed and interpreted with the highest possible quality standards. The existence of and strict adherence to quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) measures and guidelines must be practiced in all mammography facilities in order to assure the most accurate diagnoses for all patients. The following article will discuss current QC and QA measures in mammography, including the ongoing battle against false-positive readings that can result in overtreatment and possible patient drop-out from future, often crucial, mammographic studies. The US Food and Drug Administration Mammography Quality Standards Act and Program, American College of Radiologists Practice Guidelines, and selected standards from the international community are reviewed, as well as the roles of radiologists, radiologic technologists, and medical physicists. Finally, new quality concerns and developments for the future of mammographic imaging, including promising new technologies meant to make mammograms easier to interpret for the radiologist, easier to undergo for the patients, and more accurate in general are discussed.
After reading this article, the participant should be able to:
- Describe various QA and QC procedures for each member of a mammographic radiology team.
- Explain the differences between screen-film mammography and full-field digital mammography.
- Discuss false-positives and overtreatment (unnecessary procedures and/or tests) in current mammography and its possible adverse effects on the patient, including psychological stress and potential future decision to forego regular mammograms.
- Assess the reasons for the existence of stringent, regulated QA and QC procedures for mammography facilities.
Categories: Mammography, Breast Imaging