Mammography Saves (Hundreds of Thousands of) Lives!


R Edward Hendrick

This post was contributed by R. Edward Hendrick, PhD, FACR, from the University of Colorado, and by Jay A. Baker, MD, from Duke University and President of the Society for Breast Imaging (SBI). Both are members of the American College of Radiology (ACR) Commission on Breast Imaging.

Along with Mark A. Helvie, MD, from the University of Michigan, we recently authored a landmark study published in Cancer, the peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, confirming a truth that those of us in the radiology community have long known: mammography saves lives.


Jay Baker

Over the past 30 years, up to 614,500 breast cancer deaths have been averted through the use of mammography screening and improved treatment. Up to 46,000 such deaths were prevented in 2018 alone.

Despite this strong evidence of mammography’s life-saving value, only about half of U.S. women over 40 years of age currently receive regular screening mammograms as recommended by ACR/SBI screening guidelines.

Our hope is that our findings will help women recognize that early detection and modern, personalized breast cancer treatment can save their lives. Our findings support that average-risk women get screened annually starting at age 40 and that high-risk women talk with their doctor about earlier screening.

Often, when we speak with reporters about mammography screening, they want to focus on the risk of call-backs for additional imaging and breast biopsies. We have to remind them of the overwhelming truth that, as our study shows, mammography finds breast cancers early, when treatment can be most effective.

Fortunately, the mainstream media coverage of our study – from leading outlets such as NPR, U.S. News & World Report, and CBS – represents a positive step forward in correcting misinformation and raising public awareness that early detection saves women’s lives.

We anticipate that scientific advances and innovation in mammography and treatment will further reduce breast cancer deaths and morbidity.

In the meantime, it’s important that we continue to encourage our female patients, and the women in our lives, to comply with ACR/SBI screening guidelines and continue to inform patients, payers and the public that Mammography Saves Lives!

  • How are you working to educate patients about the importance of mammography screening?
  • Join the conversation on social media using hashtags #StartAt40 and #MammographySavesLives, and by following @BreastImaging, @RadiologyACR and @MammoSaves on Twitter.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below and join the discussion on Engage (login required).


The Nuts and Bolts of Clinical Decision Support

Dr. SilvaThis post was contributed by ACR Economics Commission Chair Ezequiel Silva, MD, and RBMA Federal Affairs Committee Chair Linda Wilgus, CPA, MBA.

If you’re a radiologist or a radiology business manager, by now you may know that starting Jan. 1, 2020, Medicare will require referring providers to consult appropriate use criteria (AUC) prior to ordering advanced diagnostic imaging for Medicare patients. More importantly, furnishing facilities will need proof of that consult to get paid for those exams.

What you may not know are the specifics of how to get there. Linda Wilgus CPA MBA

  • How should you prepare?
  • Why should your practice be working with your referring providers on this mandate now?
  • How and where do you document the consult?
  • Are there any facilities that are exempt?
  • What if referring and rendering providers don’t share a common electronic health record or electronic medical record system?

This just scratches the surface of the questions that have been asked, and will be asked in the months to come.

Fortunately, the American College of Radiology (ACR) and Radiology Business Management Association (RMBA) are co-hosting a free webinar on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 7pm EST to help you understand the specifics of how to implement clinical decision support (CDS) in your practice.

You don’t have to be caught off guard – you can register for the webinar now and we, along with these other experts, will answer your questions in real time:

  • Mike Bohl, MHA, IHE International Radiology Planning Committee Co-chair, Chief Operations Officer, Radiology Group, PC, SC
  • Bob Cooke, National Decision Support Company Vice President

Even if you can’t join us on the 20th, by registering, you’ll get a link to the recorded webinar as soon as it’s available.

We’ve also gathered a variety of resources at to help you explore this issue further as we approach January 2020.

Don’t miss this opportunity to participate in a robust Q+A with your peers and CDS experts. See you on the 20th!

  • What questions do you have about AUC/CDS implementation?
  • What step(s) have you, or your practice, already taken to ensure you’re prepared for the PAMA mandate? 

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below and join the discussion on Engage (login required).