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Access to mammography may worsen

hat this is a community-based report that fits the profile of the rest of the country indicates that our results are reflective of national trends," Dr. D'Orsi said.

Situation May Get Worse

The researchers reported that staffing shortages could have significant clinical implications in the early detection of breast cancer. With fewer radiologists choosing breast imaging as a specialty and a decline in the number of technologists testing for mammography certification, community facilities will not be able to meet the increasing demand for mammography services, leading to further delays in diagnosis and a potential increase in interpretive errors.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 211,240 American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, and 40,410 will die from the disease. Mammography is currently considered by most experts to be the most effective routine screening tool available for early detection of breast cancer.

According to Dr. D'Orsi, steps must be taken to solve the staffing problem, including more efforts to attract radiologists and technologists to the specialty, increased mammography reimbursement and more education on all aspects of breast imaging. "All these issues must be addressed," he said, "so facilities providing these crucial services in the community can remain clinically and financially viable."

In the meantime, Dr. D'Orsi advises women seeking mammography to make sure that the facility and its personnel meet FDA requirements and to inquire about the experience of the radiologists on staff.


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Contact: Maureen Morley
mmorley@rsna.org
630-590-7762
Radiological Society of North America
26-Apr-2005


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