Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Image Gently - Pledging to Reduce Radiation Exposure in Children

As parents, we spend a great deal of time worrying about our children. When an injury or disease strikes, the last thing that parents want to worry about is whether their child is getting unnecessary radiation as part of the diagnostic process. At Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology, your children are our priority, which is why we have committed to the Image Gently campaign.

Image Gently is an initiative of the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging which began in 2008. The goal of the initiative is to raise awareness of radiation protection in the imaging of children and to reduce unnecessary exposure. Since the campaign began, over 20,000 medical professionals and groups have taken the pledge -- including ZPR. Image Gently provides protocols for pediatric computed tomography (CT), nuclear medicine, and interventional radiology.

The Image Gently pledge reads as follows, "Recognizing that every member of the healthcare team plays a vital role in caring for the patient and wants to provide the best care, I pledge:
  • to make the image gently message a priority in staff communications this year
  • to review the protocol recommendations and, where necessary, implement adjustments to our processes
  • to respect and listen to suggestions from every member of the imaging team on ways to ensure changes are made
  • to communicate openly with parents."

A new study in the journal JAMA Pediatrics has revealed that CT dose-reduction strategies  in children can result in a drastic decrease in radiation-induced cancers later in life. According to the study's lead author, Diana Miglioretti, Ph.D., "We estimated that the number of cancers caused by CT scans performed on children could fall dramatically - by 62 percent - if dose-reduction strategies like that instituted by the Image Gently initiative were targeted to exams with the highest quarter of doses and if CT scans were used only when medically necessary." 

ZPR is proud to have made the Image Gently pledge, and wants to reassure parents that we always strive to treat your children as though they were our own.

ZPR also participates in the Image Wisely campaign, for radiation safety in adult medical imaging.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Women in Their 40s Still Want Breast Cancer Screening

    Before 2009, the recommendations on breast cancer screenings were that women should start being screened via mammogram in their 40s (or earlier if family history warranted it). In 2009, the U.S Preventive Services Task Force changed its breast cancer screening recommendations to start at age 50 for women of average risk, and suggested that women in their 40s should consult with their physicians. So what has happened since then?

A new study has revealed that women in their 40s do not want to give up breast cancer screening, and are still being screened at similar rates to those prior to the 2009 recommendation change.

The study, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, compared mammogram use before 2009 and after the 2009 guideline change. Researchers hypothesized that women in their 40s would report a significantly reduced use of mammography after 2009, but this was not the case. In 2008, 53.2% of women aged 40-49 had a mammogram, compared with 51.7% in 2010. By comparison, 65.2% of women aged 50-74 were screened in 2008 compared with 62.4% in 2010. Neither difference is statistically significant.

So what does this mean? Despite changes to the screening guidelines in 2009, women in their 40s are still getting tested at around the same rates as before. It is worth noting that both The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Cancer Society recommend that breast screening via mammogram begin at age 40. Furthermore, most insurance companies continue to pay for routine mammograms for women in their 40s.

At Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology, we offer digital mammography, as well as the latest advancement in breast imaging, 3D tomosynthesis, at nine of our locations.