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Davis, California

Sunday, May 19, 2024

UCDMC at forefront of breast cancer treatment, research

The Breast Imaging Center at the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento was recently named a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology.

UC Davis’ facility is the only one in the Sacramento area to earn the title and is the only center in all of Northern California to be accredited in all areas of breast imaging: mammography, ultrasound and stereotactic biopsy.

Supervisor Pam Phelps recognized the contributions of her colleagues.

“I think everyone involved deserves credit for our success, the mammography radiologists, and especially the pathologists that make sure their images are to the highest standard,” she said.

All mammography centers must be accredited by the American College of Radiology – but ultrasound and stereotactic biopsy facilities are not required to have such a certification.

The Breast Imaging Center earned its accreditation in these areas by sending images to the American College of Radiology for approval, and filing documentation and paperwork, said Phelps.

“It’s not required, but we’ve really taken the extra step to have collected this information, and to be the only one in Northern California with all three technologies accredited is great,” she said. “I think everyone should strive for accreditation, because it shows that you’re a top-notch facility.”

Many of the facilities in Sacramento are accredited for breast ultrasound as well as the required mammography, but most are not certified with stereotactic biopsy or with breast ultrasound guided biopsy.

Phelps detailed the procedural importance of their three accredited technologies.

“Mammograms are recommended yearly for women over 40, and then if we see anything that is a mass then we’ll call them back for additional viewing and 90 percent of the time that is followed up with an ultrasound,” she said.

An ultrasound lets them know whether it is a fluid cyst or a solid mass, which would then require a biopsy.

“If the women need one, they’ll get [the procedure] done as a stereotactic biopsy as they lay on the prone table and we use computer-assisted guidance to perform the procedure,” she said.

“Then the findings of each biopsy go to pathology to determine whether it’s benign or cancer,” she explained before emphasizing the convenience of having three accredited technologies in the same place.

Jenny Arietta, co-president of the American Cancer Society’s UC Davis chapter of Colleges Against Cancer was pleased to hear that the treatment was covered.

“One of the big things we’ve been trying to do is get more of testing paid for by insurance, because the state is trying to cut that out, so it is good to hear that is not an issue at this certified center,” she said.

UC Davis’ chapter has been named the American Cancer Society’s national chapter of the year the past two years.

“Our goal on campus is to increase education and make people more aware of cancer prevention and the resources that the American Cancer Society has,” she said. “We have things like self-breast exams, but it is very helpful to be able to recommend people to such an excellent place nearby should they need testing or treatment.”

Phelps said it is hard to predict whether the rise in patients is because of the accreditation or because of the center’s increasing recognition as the premier facility in Northern California.

“We’ve also just in the last year switched over to digital mammography, and I think that has increased our patient load just as much as becoming accredited for all of these modalities,” she said.


MIKE DORSEY can be reached at campus@californiaaggie.com.


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