Mammography Service Receives Accreditation
In the past year, more than 2,160 mammograms have been performed at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, where the mammography service has just been awarded a three-year term of accreditation from the American College of Radiology.
The ACR, which is headquartered in Reston, Va., awards accreditation to facilities for the achievement of high-practice standards after a peer-review of the practice.
Evaluations are conducted by board certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field. They assess the qualifications of the personnel and the adequacy of facility equipment before reporting their findings to the ACR's Committee on Accreditation, which then provides the practice with a comprehensive report.
The national ACR organization serves more than 32,000 diagnostic-international radiologists, radiation oncologists, and nuclear medicine and medical physicists with programs focus-ing on the practice of medical imaging and radiation oncology, and the delivery of comprehensive health care services.
"We are inspected annually by the state on behalf of the Food and Drug Administration," says Tina La Forge, supervisor of mammography services at FirstHealth Moore Regional. "ACR accreditation is an even higher standard of operation and is a voluntary program."
Two full-time and four part-time technologists perform mammograms at Moore Regional, and six radiologists read the images. All are ACR and MQSA (Mammography Quality Standards Act) accredited.
"When a facility is ACR accredited, it has voluntarily complied with the highest standards of operation," La Forge says. "For the patient, that translates into the highest standards of care from the radiologists and technologists who are involved in her care. The patient can feel confident that she is receiving the highest quality of care from qualified personnel."
Mammograms are used as a screening tool to detect early breast cancer in women experiencing no symptoms, and to detect and diagnose breast disease in women experiencing symptoms such as a lump, pain or nipple discharge.
Mammography plays a central part in the early detection of breast cancers, because it can show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them.
Current guidelines from the ACR as well as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the American Cancer Society and the American Medical Association recommend screening mammography every year for women, beginning at age 40.
Research has shown that annual mammograms lead to early detection of breast cancers when they are most curable and when breast-conservation therapies are available.
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