Symptomatic breast clinics: the radiologist's perspective
- MJ Michell1
© BioMed Central 2006
Published: 10 July 2006
Breast radiology, encompassing high-quality mammography, ultrasound and image-guided biopsy, is central to the aims of the modern breast clinic – to address the concerns of patients presenting with symptoms of breast disease and to make an accurate and timely diagnosis.
There has recently been increased pressure on clinics due to improved public awareness of breast disease leading to earlier patient presentation, often with subtle clinical signs. The diagnosis of breast cancer at an earlier stage, contributing to the improved outcome for breast cancer patients, has been accompanied by increased numbers of women presenting to clinics with benign conditions, increasing the workload for radiology services. Further pressure on services has come from increasing expectations from the public who would welcome rapid access to diagnostic clinics regardless of the nature of symptoms and an assurance that all necessary tests would be performed during the same session. Some services have had difficulty with meeting the challenge of both maintaining accuracy and quality at the same time as increasing capacity to meet Health Service waiting time targets.
In this presentation, different models of care for breast clinics will be presented with data from the 2006 UK Breast Clinic Survey, and methods for ensuring the most effective and efficient use of radiology resources will be discussed.