The impact of age on the art of mammography and how to adapt accordingly (2017)

Type of publication:
Journal article

*Lake, B.; *Cielecki, L. ; *Williams, S.; *Worrall, C.; *Metelko, M.

Radiography; Nov 2017; vol. 23 (no. 4) e120–e121

Introduction Breast cancer is increasingly a disease of the elderly, and combined with the NHS Breast Screening Extension means that more elderly patients are having mammography. Increasing age can make mammography more technically difficult. This is a technical note detailing the results of a local audit which may be of interest due to potential service implications. Method A retrospective audit of the first year of screening extension of The Shropshire Breast Screening Programme. Aims to collect data on patient demographics and describe the technical adaptations developed in Shropshire. Results Breast screening extension has increased by 2.5 times the number of women aged 70–74 screened, and doubled the overall numbers of women over 70 screened. Significantly more older patients are being screened to present technical challenges to a screening programme. Data was obtained from a month of screening showed that 29% of patients over 70 needed extra time for positioning. Reasons included 22% difficulty in obtaining adequate positioning and 15% needed a relative to aid with consent. Discussion In the Shropshire screening programme different technical adaptations have been developed and are key to ensuring adequate images. These include double appointments, two radiographers, thorough assessment, steeper angles, seated examinations, from-below imaging and pre-planning for subsequent screen. Conclusion Significantly more older women are having breast screening due to the increasing incidence of breast cancer and the Breast Screening Programme extension. Increasing age can significantly increase time taken for adequate imaging and present technical challenges. Development of technical adaptations to art of mammography is key to achieve adequate images.

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