October 8, 2010
Mammography Program at KCH Receives Re-certification

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, NBCAM, is a great month to have an annual mammogram.  With all the national media attention each October, it helps remind woman of this critical screen for breast cancer and that early detection is the best protection. There is a “1 in 8” lifetime risk for women to develop this cancer.

Recently the Mammography Program at KCH was again successfully registered indicating that the program, it’s digital mammography equipment and technologists are doing everything right and meet all standards for optimal care.

In addition to a top program, KCH is blessed with a Chief of Radiology – Jamil Sarfraz, M.D. – who has a special interest in breast health and is American Board Certified not only in Diagnostic Radiology, but also in Nuclear Medicine and Internal Medicine.  His expertise in the early diagnosis of breast cancer is well known and sought after in the region.

In recent PA Health Care Cost Containment data available to the public online, or selected notation in the media, KCH posted a significantly higher rate of follow-up from mammograms than the norm.  To a casual observer those figures might suggest that KCH is repeating mammograms.  Actually, the KCH “recall” rate is only 1.9%, which is the lowest in the area.

In fact, the figures note an aggressive KCH program in the diagnosis and detection of breast cancer at its earliest and takes care to follow-up, often at the time of the original mammogram, when the results of the mammogram alone were inconclusive to a skilled eye.  At KCH the immediate follow-up of dense breast tissue is with ultrasound.  This aids in the accuracy of the diagnosis.  It’s a follow-up that women have come to expect at KCH and one all women deserve.

Mammographically, the breast pattern can be divided into fatty, dense and mixed.  Across the board, mammography alone has an accuracy of 83%.  But in dense breasts, it has a dismal accuracy of only 55%.  That is why a Johns Hopkins’ study was able to improve the accuracy by 28% by adding ultrasound.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that mammography alone has a cancer detection rate of 7.6 women in 1,000 screened and that by adding ultrasound the rate was increased to 11.8 women per 1,000 screened, an increase of 28%.  These results were published in May 2008 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Ultrasound and MRI imaging of the breast are two additional modalities that greatly decrease the chance of false, negative mammograms, particularly in women with fibrocystic changes or dense breast tissue.  This is the preferred protocol for the KCH Program. 

There are different cancer diagnostic and treatment approaches that range form doing nothing, watchful waiting, re-screening, ultrasound, and MRI studies. 

Early detection is still the best protection. The sooner a cancer is diagnosed the greater potential for a successful outcome. 

KCH offers digital mammography all year round, but kicks it up a bit during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October with a special push for screening that includes giveaways for each patient, weekly drawings for a gift basket, special mammography rate for under or uninsured women, a table display with health information important to women and during the third week of October, refreshments in the waiting room.  

During KCH’s recent Ladies’ Night Out, 70 women signed up to participate in annual screenings during NBCAM.  Those who are under or uninsured are being offered a mammography screening and reading for the reduced rate of $60 during October, thanks in part to area businesses who helped fund this program this year for area women.

Mammography Program at KCH

The KCH Breast Health Center Team is Fighting for you. Call KCH Diagnostic Imaging today at 837-4580. Pictured l-r are: Ronda Feronti, RT(R)(M)(CT), Ann Anderson, RT (R)(M); Brittany McElhattan RDMS; and Julie Laughner, RT(R)(M)(BD).  At the KCH Breast Health Center, KCH offers comprehensive breast health care with digital mammography, ultrasound, MRI, and stereotactic breast biopsy.