Experience Matters Meet the Breast Imaging Experts Reading Your Mammogram
April 05, 2016
By KD Flick, Genesis Imaging Centers
In May of last year, 55 year old Linda began having pain in her right breast. She thought it was probably a strained muscle and waited for it to pass. But by the end of July the pain was even more persistent so she finally called her family doctor. Her annual mammograms had always been normal, but in the back of her mind she knew this was something that needed attention—and only a mammogram could reassure her. However, upon the subsequent visit with her physician, he disagreed. Another mammogram wasn’t due for three months and he advised “waiting it out.”
“He told me that if I had breast pain, then I didn’t have cancer. But I was persistent and didn’t want to wait another three months. I told him if he didn’t order a mammogram I would find someone who would. He finally gave me an order.”
According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, “…Breast pain may occur for a number of reasons…but breast pain is NOT commonly a symptom of cancer.” But in Linda’s case, the pain saved her life.
After Linda’s mammogram at Genesis Imaging Centers, the team of six Radiology Group, PC.SC breast imaging experts went to work. Jeff C. Goree, M.D., interpreted her mammogram and found a “suspicious mass” in her right breast. An ultrasound was then arranged at the Kenneth H. McKay Center for Breast Health, Davenport. Based upon the outcome, a breast biopsy was ordered. Matthew A. Ketelaar, M.D. performed the biopsy; the following day he called Linda to confirm the diagnosis was stage one breast cancer. Shortly thereafter Linda’s surgeon and oncologist began working in conjunction with the breast team.
“At CBH we see a wide variety of patients,” said Christine M. Walsh, MD, Fellowship-trained Breast Imaging specialist and member of Radiology Group, PC.SC’s breast imaging team. “When a patient comes to us with a suspicious finding we provide a thorough evaluation using a combination of mammography, ultrasound, and MRI. If necessary, we also perform minimally invasive imaging-guided biopsies.”
Breast imaging experts have the most contact and interaction with patients and act as key consulting partners with primary care physicians and specialists. They interpret medical images, choose proper imaging exams and collaborate with physicians in establishing patient care and treatment plans. “When cancer is suspected,” added Dr. Walsh, “the follow-up process is a very high stress situation for women. It’s very important to me that patients are well informed and comfortable—and they know what to expect. I enjoy working with our patients, being part of a multidisciplinary team and providing personalized care.”
Radiology Group, PC.SC has served the Quad Cities since 1945. From its earliest beginnings in the basement of a pathology lab to the current group of fifteen board-certified radiologists, Radiology Group, PC.SC has the distinction of being the most experienced radiology group in the Quad City Area. Its six breast imaging experts read on average two to three times more mammograms than do radiologists in any other group within an 80 mile radius (2013 Medicare Physician Payment File). Radiology Group purposely limits the number of breast imaging experts to maximize their skills and experience. Studies have shown that radiologists who read higher volumes are more accurate compared to radiologists who read fewer mammograms. A recent article concluded that “…Radiologists with higher annual volumes had clinically and statistically significantly lower false-positive rates with similar sensitivities as their colleagues with lower volumes” (Radiology, April 2011).
When you’re facing a serious medical concern, experience matters. When Linda was asked if she had any advice for other women who may be facing a diagnosis of breast cancer she said, “I can’t say enough about the radiologists, my surgeon, and oncologist who helped me during the time of my diagnosis and treatment. I don’t want to think about what might have happened if I had waited those three months. I feel very lucky. My advice to other women is to be persistent. You have to be your best advocate and take ownership of your own health care. Don’t let anyone let you fall through the cracks—not when there are great professionals out there who will help you.”
Annual Mammography is an important feature of every woman’s health program. Now, Genesis Imaging Centers has made it even easier to have this life-saving exam. You have the power to schedule your annual mammogram at YOUR convenience, without a doctor’s order. Just call 563-421-XRAY (9729) to self-request your exam.
Adopting an attitude of personal empowerment by taking an active role in your breast health offers the best chance of surviving breast cancer. We know Linda would agree.
If you’d like to learn more about radiology or have breast imaging questions, contact KD Flick, Physician Liaison, Genesis Imaging Centers, 563-421-5632 or email@example.com.
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