Course Descriptions

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 DIGITAL BREAST TOMOSYNTHESIS (DBT)

This unit of study provides the mammographer with the general features of 3D (Three-dimensional) digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT). The mammographer will learn why DBT was introduced as a new breast imaging modality. A comparison of 2D digital mammography to 3D tomosynthesis is included, from acquisition to display. Information on implementation, dose, and patient selection is also provided. This course satisfies the 8 hours of DBT training required by MQSA. 

DIGITAL MAMMOGRAPHY WITH QUALITY ASSURANCE (QA) & QUALITY CONTROL (QC)

This unit of study is intended to provide the mammographer with a comprehensive understanding of digital mammography. Image quality depends on several factors. There is a key relationship between the physical qualities of mammography and the radiologist’s ability to detect and interpret the various features on the image. With a better understanding of mammography physics, instrumentation, and QA/QC practices, the mammographer will be equipped with the tools she needs to deliver the highest quality of care to the patient. This course satisfies the 8 hours of digital mammography training required by MQSA. 

ANATOMY & PHYSIOLOGY; BREAST SELF-EXAM; PATIENT HISTORY

This unit of study includes comprehensive information on the anatomy and physiology of the breast. A summary of Breast Self-Examination is included so the mammographer can reinforce the practice of this important procedure to the patient. Additional information pertaining to an accurate and complete patient history is included. The mammographer will better comprehend the importance of the interview process and its correlation with breast cancer risks. In this way, we may better serve as a valuable liaison between the patient and the radiologist. 

ANCILLARY BREAST IMAGING STUDIES

This unit of study provides an overview of the various techniques for breast imaging. It includes a summary of 2-D digital mammography, 3-D digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT), computer-assisted detection (CAD), ultrasonography (U/S), automated whole breast ultrasound (ABUS), breast ultrasound elastography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), molecular breast imaging (MBI), positron emission tomography (PET), positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT), positron emission mammography/tomography (PEM/PET), thermography and contrast-enhanced mammography (CEM). Special procedures such as sentinel node mapping and biopsy are also discussed. 

BREAST IMPLANTS AND MAMMOGRAPHY

This unit of study provides an overview of breast augmentation. Various types of implants will be discussed as well as various surgical procedures and complications. The mammographer will learn how to manipulate the implanted breast during mammography positioning and recognize important aspects of the patient’s history that will assist in the radiologist’s interpretation. The imaging of breast implants with ultrasound and MRI will also be explained as well as biopsy techniques and breast cancer treatments for women with breast implants. 

BREAST PATHOLOGY

This study course begins by identifying the various classifications of breast cancer and includes the American Cancer Society’s estimated breast cancer incidence and mortality statistics. A review of breast anatomy and physiology is followed by detailed information on breast imaging terminology (BI-RADS Atlas) from the American College of Radiology. The characteristics of masses, calcifications and other mammographic findings are explained in great detail, and then correlated with numerous illustrations and mammographic images. All benign, high risk, and malignant breast conditions are covered. The unit closes with interesting case reviews that examine the appropriate action of the technologist and radiologist leading to final interpretation of the study. 

DUCTAL CARCINOMA IN SITU (DCIS)

This unit of study provides an explanation of DCIS, the earliest form of breast cancer typically discovered by microcalcifications on screening mammograms. Magnification technique, biopsy selection, and specimen radiography are discussed. Standard treatment options including surgery, radiotherapy, and hormonal therapy are presented with an emphasis on the early detection of breast cancer by routine annual mammography. 

INTERPRETING THE MAMMOGRAPHY REPORT

This unit of study provides an explanation of the recommended terminology used in the mammography report, as recommended by the American College of Radiology. This information will enable the mammographer to differentiate between a negative report with benign findings and a report that identifies abnormal findings. The sensitivity and specificity of mammography, as well as the ACR Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS) 2013 edition, are explained. Breast imaging lexicon (terminology) is defined as it relates to the description of masses, calcifications, and areas of asymmetry. The seven final assessment categories and four breast tissue composition categories are also defined. Examples of mammography reports are included for review. 

IMAGE IDENTIFICATION & BREAST COMPRESSION

This unit of study provides an explanation of proper breast compression during mammography. The mammographer will be introduced to various aspects of breast compression including patient care, physical aspects of compression and mandatory quality control testing. The mammographer will also learn the advantages of adequate compression and how to best support the patient during breast compression. A review of proper identification procedures according to the ACR’s standardized labeling system is also included. 

MAMMOGRAPHIC POSITIONING, BASIC & ADVANCED

This unit of study provides an explanation of proper breast positioning during mammography. The mammographer will be introduced to the basic screening projections, as well as the advanced diagnostic projections. The mammographer will learn the value of each projection and be able to identify those situations when supplemental views are useful in breast imaging. 

MAMMOGRAPHY OF THE MALE PATIENT

This unit provides an overview of male breast disease. It examines male breast anatomy, benign breast conditions and associated risk factors for breast cancer in the male patient. Treatment options and patient prognosis for male breast cancer patients is included. The mammographer will also study standard mammographic positioning for the male patient and alternate projections. 

RISK FACTORS FOR BREAST CANCER

This unit of study provides an explanation of the risk factors for breast cancer. The mammographer will be introduced to breast cancer as a disease and learn the current statistical estimates provided by the American Cancer Society. Various risk factors and current research findings will be presented. The mammographer will better understand the importance of presenting this information to the radiologist via the patient breast history form for thorough evaluation of a patient’s risk of developing breast cancer. 

STEREOTACTIC BREAST BIOPSY

Completion of this study unit satisfies the ACR voluntary accreditation requirement for the mammography technologist. This unit of study provides an overview of breast biopsy procedures with an emphasis on the stereotactic method. The mammographer will be introduced to the various methods of guided stereotactic biopsy, patient selection, trouble-shooting, pathological findings and follow-up patient care. The mammographer will also learn how to best support the patient during a stereotactic breast biopsy. 

THE BREAST CANCER PATIENT

This unit of study begins with statistics from the American Cancer Society on breast cancer incidence and mortality. When a patient’s mammogram results in a diagnosis of breast cancer, the patient is exposed to the field of medical oncology. This course highlights important issues: Biopsy techniques, cancer staging, triple negative breast cancer, genetics, surgical treatments, sentinel node biopsy, reconstruction techniques, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormonal therapy and recurrence. The technologist will also learn how to best support the breast cancer patient during mammography with effective communication skills and mammographic imaging. 

BREAST IMAGING & ANCILLARY STUDIES FOR DIAGNOSIS

This unit of study provides an overview of the various techniques for breast imaging. It includes a summary of xeromammography, 2-D digital mammography, 3-D digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT), computer-assisted detection (CAD), ultrasonography (U/S), breast ultrasound elastography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), molecular breast imaging (MBI), positron emission tomography (PET), positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT), positron emission mammography/tomography (PEM/PET), thermography, dedicated breast CT, and contrast-enhanced mammography (CEM). Special procedures such as sentinel node mapping and biopsy are also discussed.