Growing Possibilities

Amidst a busy year for breast imagers, the SBI continues to flourish.growing possibilities

While tremendous strides have been made in breast-cancer research and treatment during the past decade, squaring off against the disease is not an easy feat.

Yet, for more than 25 years, the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) has tackled the challenge by fostering new innovations in screening and technology, holding biennial conferences and meetings, and offering continuing medical education. "Our overarching goal is to provide our members with the most up-to-date information about breast imaging," says SBI President W. Phil Evans, M.D., FACR.

The SBI began with six radiologists who were committed to advancing the field of breast imaging by improving the quality of education, encouraging research, hosting meetings for the presentation and discussion of ideas, and establishing a channel for publishing scientific reports. Membership is constantly growing, and more than 2,500 radiologists, physicians, technologists, physicists, and members-in-training now belong to the organization. "While October is officially breast-cancer awareness month, this past year, every month has been like 'October' because we're constantly serving our members and responding to many media mentions and studies about breast cancer to make sure that all are well informed," Evans shares.

New Partnerships

With controversy sparked by the 2009 USPSTF breast-screening guidelines, it's no wonder the SBI is busy. In the tumult over the guidelines, the society has collaborated with the ACR and the American Society of Breast Disease (ASBD) to create and promote a new campaign, Mammography Saves Lives™, which seeks to encourage annual mammography screening for women, beginning at age 40. "The screening guidelines provided by the USPSTF were very detrimental to women in this country," Evans says. "We wanted to make sure that women had access to the correct information."

The campaign's website, www.mammographysaveslives.org, features testimonials from breast-cancer survivors and informative podcasts from Evans; Carol H. Lee, M.D., FACR, chair of the ACR Breast Imaging Commission; and Gail S. Lebovic, M.D., FACS, ASBD president. Evans is confident that the campaign will help to clarify and reinforce the importance of screening.

He says, "Our [public service announcements (PSAs)] highlight women who were diagnosed with breast cancer in their 40s [with] screening mammography. In my career, I've seen hundreds of women who received a breast-cancer diagnosis in their 40s, and their lives were saved by a mammogram."

According to Evans, since the campaign's launch last fall, the television PSAs (see www.youtube.com/user/MammographySaves) have aired more than 11,500 times on TV stations nationwide and have been viewed by nearly 31 million people. The radio PSAs have aired 3,000 times on radio stations across the country, reaching 13 million people. Traditional radio ads have aired 3,600 times and have reached 5.5 million listeners. Satellite radio airings on the ABC Radio Network, Disney Radio, Urban Radio Network, and various Sirius/XM radio stations have connected with nearly 40 million listeners.

Another promising partnership for the SBI this year is its alliance with members of the ACR's Breast Imaging Commission to develop new recommendations for breast imaging. These guidelines were published in the January 2010 issue of the JACR ("Breast Cancer Screening with Imaging: Recommendations from the Society of Breast Imaging and the ACR on the Use of Mammography, Breast MRI, Breast Ultrasound, and Other Technologies for the Detection of Clinically Occult Breast Cancer.") Evans says, "With health-care legislation requiring all new health insurance policies to provide no-cost mammograms to women [as of September 2010], we wanted to make sure that imagers had the most up-to-date guidelines and information."

Rich Educational Opportunities

In addition to its membership benefits, the SBI hosts one of the most highly anticipated biennial meetings in the breast-imaging community — the 10th annual SBI postgraduate course. This event is one of the largest gatherings in the world dedicated to breast imaging and is typically attended by more than 600 professionals. This year's course will be held May 18-21, 2011, in San Antonio, Texas. (For another great opportunity in breast imaging, check out the 35th National Conference on Breast Cancer.)

Attendees will participate in four days of informative sessions that cover the current state of breast imaging, managing breast disease, and the latest updates on technology and techniques. "Our conferences have always been very well attended," Evans says. "Participants walk away with [a] deeper knowledge [of] breast imaging." For more information, visit www.sbi-online.org.

As the need for training and information about breast imaging grows, the SBI is committed to providing its members with the necessary resources to meet their patients' needs today and tomorrow. "It is our principal goal to continue to educate and develop the best breast imagers," Evans concludes.


By Leah Lakins

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