RFS Voices: International Day of Radiology 2016: A Celebration of Breast ImagingIDOR2016 Poster 50dpi

November 8th marks the 5th annual International Day of Radiology. This year focuses on Breast Imaging.

As breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women aside from skin cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death, breast imaging plays a crucial role in its detection and diagnosis, and thus is crucial in helping save women’s lives. Many institutions and organizations are supporting this initiative worldwide, including the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI), European Society of Breast Imaging (EOSBI), the American College of Radiology (ACR), the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), and the European Society of Radiology (ESR). From education provided to patients in the form of pamphlets about breast health, to setting up breast biopsy simulation workshops, this subspecialty is being celebrated in all forms with patient education being at the forefront of it all.

From a historical perspective, it is truly remarkable how far we have come in the field of breast imaging. Beginning in the 1960’s, the most primitive forms of mammography came into existence, with the image captured similarly to a chest radiograph. The result was an underexposed breast. Mammography then evolved to screen film, full field digital, and now tomosynthesis, 3-D mammography which captures images of the breast ranging from 11-50 degree angles. Other breast imaging forms have evolved — focused breast ultrasound began being utilized in the 1980’s, and Breast MRI came into use in the late 1990’s/early 2000’s.

The evolution and refinement of diagnostic tools hasn’t stopped there. The breast imaging field is now conducting research with contrast-enhanced mammography, abbreviated protocol contrast-enhanced Breast MRI, and even new procedural techniques via tomosynthesis guidance and radioactive seed localizations. The field of breast imaging is ever evolving, and it is an exciting time to celebrate where we first began with where we are headed in the future.

But with these new advancements, what is crucial to the hopes and successes of the subspecialty for the future is ongoing communication with our patients. The field will invariably change in the years to come as old technologies refine and new ones arise. It will be up to us as radiologists to ensure that the patient is well informed of what imaging examination or what procedure she (or even he) is undergoing in a time where transparency in patient care is paramount and education is valued in health care. Breast imaging is a poster child for the Imaging 3.0® campaign, and that position will only strengthen as we move forward.

All of this means that it’s more important than ever to participate in an event that brings more patient attention to radiology. So, ask what your own institutions are doing to celebrate this most auspicious occasion. Become involved in the IDOR initiative. We have all had loved ones whether it be family or friends who have been affected by this devastating disease, and as radiologists, we all have the power to make a difference, both in diagnosis and dialogue.


By Amy Patel, MD Breast Radiology Fellow at Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology Washington University in St. Louis.

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