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Study reveals gaps in radiologist, technologist breast cancer care knowledge

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | August 11, 2020
MRI Women's Health

The findings according to Seitzman indicates that screening MR in high-risk women may be underutilized and that resources with complete information to fully inform and educate radiologists on proper screening assessment are essential to ensuring patients undergo the right diagnostic exam based on their personal risk profile.

"Targeted, comprehensive educational resources on breast density and supplemental screening are needed, as are clear national guidelines to address improved screening for women with dense breasts," she said. "With the Netherlands DENSE trial results and ECOG-ACRIN 1141, and several states now requiring insurance coverage for MR in women with dense breasts, this may include screening MR or contrast-enhanced mammography going forward. There is a great need to educate women directly, radiologists, technologists, and referring physicians about the limitations of current screening and supplemental options."

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Legislation passed in 2019 requires all U.S. mammography reports to include up-to-date information on the density of a patient’s breast tissue. In accordance with the mandate, the FDA will develop reporting language on the topic and take steps to ensure mammography reports and summaries include necessary information about breast density when sent to patients and their providers.

"Both the breast imaging team and the referring provider are involved in a woman’s screening mammogram," JoAnn Pushkin, executive director of DenseBreast-info.org, told HCB News. "It is important to understand knowledge gaps among providers in both disciplines, as the patient will likely seek information from one or the other. In addition, referring providers often rely on recommendations made by radiologists; however, it is important that they are empowered make appropriate screening recommendations independently, as recommendations may not be included in the mammography report."

The second study will focus on identifying knowledge gaps among referring providers. It will also assess whether a medically sourced web-based educational intervention can bridge knowledge gaps and increase comfort levels in navigating patient discussions around breast density and its implications for breast cancer screening and risk.

The research was supported by DB-I’s Education Supporters. Funding was provided in part by a generous grant from the American Cancer Society.

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