To improve breast cancer outcomes, the American College of Radiology (ACR) has created a free “Talking to Patients About Breast Cancer Screening” toolkit for radiologists to share with referring physicians.

The customizable resources help providers:

  • Identify and assess reliable breast cancer screening and outcomes data
  • Discern actual breast cancer screening risks versus benefits
  • Discuss with patients when to be screened to avoid unnecessary death and treatment due to late breast cancer detection resulting from lack of screening
  • Earn continuing medical education (CME) credit upon completing an online module

Many studies show that annual screening greatly reduces breast cancer deaths. Yet, 35% of women who should be screened choose not to get a mammogram—contributing to thousands of deaths each year. With conflicting screening guidelines and no modern randomized controlled trial (RCT) data, many physicians may not understand RCT and modern prospective study data on reduced mortality and morbidity due to screening.

Providers may not know what to tell women regarding when and how often to be screened. This has contributed to confusion in women about when—or even if—they should get a mammogram.

This toolkit would help referring providers make better screening recommendations by showing them why:

  • All women should be assessed for risk by age 30 (especially African-American and Ashkenazi women)
  • Average-risk women should start annual screening at age 40
  • High-risk women should start sooner and consider supplemental exams
  • Mammography is proven effective at reducing breast cancer deaths
  • Mammography benefits outweigh screening risks — including over-diagnosis and false positives

Radiologists are strongly encouraged to download these materials:

  • Customize them with their facility’s branding (we’ve left a place for that in each item)
  • Share them with referring clinicians and advise them of CME availability!
  • Place patient materials on their website and in their waiting room
  • Print and include in correspondence with patients and referring providers