The Community Health Center of Branch County has been awarded a three-year term of accreditation in mammography as the result of a recent review by the American College of Radiology (ACR). Mammography is a specific type of imaging test that uses a low-dose x-ray system to examine breasts. A mammography exam, called a mammogram, is used to aid in the early detection and diagnosis of breast diseases in women.
The ACR gold seal of accreditation represents the highest level of image quality and patient safety. It is awarded only to facilities meeting ACR Practice Guidelines and Technical Standards after a peer-review evaluation by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field. Image quality, personnel qualifications, adequacy of facility equipment, quality control procedures, and quality assurance programs are assessed. The findings are reported to the ACR Committee on Accreditation, which subsequently provides the practice with a comprehensive report they can use for continuous practice improvement.
The ACR is a national professional organization serving more than 34,000 diagnostic/interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists, nuclear medicine physicians, and medical physicists with programs focusing on the practice of medical imaging and radiation oncology and the delivery of comprehensive health care services.
CHC has gone through an in depth review process to be sure that we are meeting nationally accepted standards for Mammography. CHC is required to be ACR/FDA/MQSA certified to perform mammography. Our technologists and radiologists are well qualified to perform and interpret the images that we obtain. They maintain their skills through education and certification. Being ACR accredited ensures that our facility meets or exceeds quality assurance and safety guidelines and that the equipment is appropriate for the test that the patients will receive.
An x-ray (radiograph) is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. Imaging with x-rays involves exposing a part of the body to a small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body. X-rays are the oldest and most frequently used form of medical imaging.
Two recent advances in mammography include digital mammography and computer-aided detection. Both of which CHC utilizes.
Digital mammography, also called full-field digital mammography (FFDM), is a mammography system in which the x-ray film is replaced by solid-state detectors that convert x-rays into electrical signals. These detectors are similar to those found in digital cameras. The electrical signals are used to produce images of the breast that can be seen on a computer screen or printed on special film similar to conventional mammograms. From the patient's point of view, having a digital mammogram is essentially the same as having a conventional film mammogram.
Computer-aided detection (CAD) systems use a digitized mammographic image that can be obtained from either a conventional film mammogram or a digitally acquired mammogram. The computer software then searches for abnormal areas of density, mass, or calcification that may indicate the presence of cancer. The CAD system highlights these areas on the images, alerting the radiologist to the need for further analysis.
How should I prepare?
Before scheduling a mammogram, the American Cancer Society (ACS) and other specialty organizations recommend that you discuss any new findings or problems in your breasts with your doctor. In addition, inform your doctor of any prior surgeries, hormone use, and family or personal history of breast cancer.
Do not schedule your mammogram for the week before your period if your breasts are usually tender during this time. The best time for a mammogram is one week following your period. Always inform your doctor or x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that you are pregnant.
The ACS also recommends you:
- Do not wear deodorant, talcum powder or lotion under your arms or on your breasts on the day of the exam. These can appear on the mammogram as calcium spots.
- Describe any breast symptoms or problems to the technologist performing the exam.
- If possible, obtain prior mammograms and make them available to the radiologist at the time of the current exam.
- Ask when your results will be available; do not assume the results are normal if you do not hear from your doctor or the mammography facility.
The CHC Radiology department provides many services to the community including: Breast MRI; MRI/MRA; X-ray; CT scans; ultrasound; CT/CTA, mammograms; nuclear medicine scans; bone density; fluoroscopy exams; and PET/CT. For more information about Mammography, CHC Radiology Services, or to schedule an appointment, please call CHC Radiology at 517-279-5416.
The Community Health Center of Branch County is a non-profit acute care hospital providing access to safe, comprehensive, high quality healthcare services and accredited by The Joint Commission. For more information about CHC, please call the CHC Marketing Department at 517-279-5282 or visit the CHC website at www.chcbc.com or health website at myhealth.chcbc.com.