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This publication is provided for historical reference only and the information may be out of date.

Cover of Quality Determinants of Mammography

Quality Determinants of Mammography

AHCPR Clinical Practice Guidelines, No. 13

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Rockville (MD): Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR); .
Report No.: 95-0632

Mammography is the primary tool for the early detection of breast cancer. It is estimated that 1 woman in 8 will have breast cancer during her lifetime and 1 in 33 will die from breast cancer. The probability of developing breast cancer increases with age.

The statements in this guideline concern the quality and delivery of mammography. Guideline statements were developed based on scientific evidence (which varied in quality and quantity depending on the topic) and on the basis of panel expert opinion.

Screening for breast cancer is best done by including both mammography and clinical breast examination in the process. Mammography should involve a partnership among the referring provider, interpreting physician, and woman to communicate and follow through with recommendations. The mammography facility should communicate results to the referring provider as soon as possible. Results should be conveyed to women as quickly and sensitively as possible, and women must have the opportunity to ask questions and express concerns.

It must be remembered that mammography is not perfect. A negative mammogram should never delay further evaluation or prevent care for a physical finding such as a breast lump, skin change, or spontaneous nipple discharge.

Quality has varied among mammography facilities. On October 1, 1994, all mammography facilities in the United States except Veterans Health Administration facilities must be certified by the Food and Drug Administration to provide mammography services.

The material pertaining to the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS[trademark]) is adapted from Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System, published by the American College of Radiology, Copyright 1992, 1993 American College of Radiology. The material pertaining to quality control tests to be conducted by radiologic technologists is adapted from Mammography Quality Control Manuals, published by the American College of Radiology, Copyright 1992 American College of Radiology. This material is used by permission of the American College of Radiology and is not public domain material.


Suggested citation:

Bassett LW, Hendrick RE, Bassford TL, et al. Quality Determinants of Mammography. Clinical Practice Guideline No. 13. AHCPR Publication No. 95-0632. Rockville, MD: Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. October 1994.

Bookshelf ID: NBK52390


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