News

AMI Designated a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence 

Advanced Medical Imaging, in partnership with Bozeman Health, has been designated a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology (ACR). In achieving this status, AMI and BDHS have been recognized by ACR as a breast imaging center that has earned accreditation in all of the College’s voluntary breast-imaging accreditation programs and modules, in ad­dition to the mandatory Mammography Ac­creditation Program. Peer-review evalua­tions, conducted in each breast imaging modality by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field, have determined that AMI has achieved high practice standards in image quality, personnel qualifications, facility equipment, quality control proce­dures, and quality assurance programs.


Low Dose Chest CT Scan for Lung Cancer Screening

Cancer screenings are designed to catch cancer in its earliest stages, when it is most treatable. For example, mammograms look for breast cancer and PSA screens for prostate cancer. Until recently, however, there wasn't a good screening tool for the most common cancer killer in America: lung cancer.

Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital and Advanced Medical Imaging (AMI) are proud to be among the first in the state to jointly offer Low Dose Chest CT scans for lung cancer, a disease that most often has reached advanced stages by the time symptoms appear.“This is cutting edge stuff based on the recently released National Lung Cancer Screening Trial (NLST) data,” said Kevin Duwe, MD, of Intercity Radiology and AMI. “It’s the start of a whole new protocol. The five-year survival rate for lung cancer has been only 15% since the 1970s, because it was found too late. The premise is with early detection it will be more treatable. The test is for people who feel well, even though they have a significant smoking history.”Since smoking is thought to cause up to 90% of lung cancers, candidates for this screening must be a current or former smoker, between 55-74 years old, with a smoking history of at least 30 pack-years (one pack a day for 30 years, two packs a day for 15 years, etc.), and have no symptoms such as wheezing or coughing up blood. An order for the test is needed from their primary provider.Low Dose Chest CT uses the lowest possible amount of radiation without contrast dye to produce diagnostic quality images of the chest. It is a lesser dose that a normal CT scan, approximately equivalent to the dose in a mammogram. “It’s literally a 10-second scan, 15 minutes from start to finish,” Dr. Duwe said.While the $400 exam is not currently covered by insurance, Duwe said if cancer or other incidental findings are discovered, insurance should cover all follow-up treatment. He expects the screening will be covered by insurance, just like mammograms, within this decade.

 

Thermogram No Substitute for a Mammogram 

By Cindy Carter, PA-C, CBPN-IC, Advanced Medical Imaging 

Thermography has been around for decades. It utilizes an infrared camera to produce images (thermo­grams) that show the patterns of heat and blood flow on or near the surface of the body. Breast thermography was approved by the FDA in 1982 only as an adjunct to mammogra­phy. However, locally and nation­ally some facilities, websites, and mobile units have promoted the use of thermography as a stand-alone tool to screen and diagnose breast cancer. Some have falsely claimed thermography to be a substitute for mammography, or even superior to mammography, and that it can diagnose breast cancer long before a mammogram. This is simply not true. Patients and their providers are receiving false and misleading information. On June 2, 2011, the FDA issued an alert regarding false and misleading claims in relation to thermography. According to the FDA, “thermography is not a re­placement for screening mammogra­phy and should not be used by itself to diagnose breast cancer.” They also state there is no scientific data that shows thermographic devices, when used on their own, are an effective screening tool for any medical condi­tion including the early detection of breast cancer or other breast disease. 

Experts in breast imaging, breast cancer and public health agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Cancer Institute, the Society for Breast Imaging, the American Col­lege of Radiology, and the American Cancer Society agree with the FDA. 

Digital mammography is safe. And it’s the most effective method of detecting breast cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages. Mammogra­phy remains the gold standard for breast cancer screening. The images that result from annual screening mammograms allow experts to de­tect changes in the breast and detect suspicious tissue up to two years before it can be felt by you or your doctor. 

The National Cancer Institute estimates that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Ac­cording to the FDA, there has been a steady decline in breast cancer deaths and one reason is early detection through mam­mography. Since 1990, mammog­raphy has helped reduce the breast cancer death rate by nearly thirty percent. For women concerned about the exposure to radiation from a mammogram, evi­dence shows the amount of radiation exposure is minimal and the benefits clearly outweigh the risks, especially when compared to the danger of breast cancer. 

Current recommendations for women are annual screening mam­mograms starting at age 40, along with a clinical breast exam for pa­tients who are considered at average risk for breast cancer. Women with an increased risk of breast cancer—in­cluding women with a family history of breast cancer, women who smoke, and women who are overweight— should consult with a healthcare pro­vider or breast care expert. Advanced Medical Imaging has additional diag­nostic procedures for detection which include breast ultrasound, breast MRI and biopsy. In some cases, these procedures are used in conjunction with a mammogram and breast exam. Additional procedures could include thermography. 

For more information from the FDA on thermography, please refer to www.fda.gov/consumer and search thermography. For additional perspectives on breast cancer screen­ing, diagnosis and treatment please visit the American Cancer Society, the Society for Breast Imaging, the American College of Radiology, the National Cancer Institute and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network websites. We encourage women to discuss this information with their healthcare providers. Con­tact Advanced Medical Imaging with your questions and we’ll provide you with accurate information and guidance.