New Law: Mammogram Safety

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Dr. Michael Norton is the director of breast imaging at the Radiological Associates of Sacramento. He specializes in detecting breast cancer.
“We’re in the mammography suite here…we have two digital units here…”

At his center he explains there are federal laws in place already about mammography. He says inspectors are looking for a variety of things:
“Is the radiologist qualified to be reading them, is the machine calibrated properly and putting out the proper doses? Particularly in this time when we’re hearing stories about CTs and radiation exposure, we want to assure people that mammography is low dose and we monitor this very closely.”
Norton says the state law will bolster the existing rules on the books. And make sure that patients are informed.
“If you have a level one violation that you have to post notice of that violation in clear view of patients when they come in so they’ll know and you can’t go back into operation until whatever the problem is is rectified.”
The state legislation won’t change much at his practice, Dr. Norton says. But he says it can’t hurt to have strong rules in place to catch any facilities not meeting the standards.
“Obviously if you have a machine that’s low quality you may be missing cancers that would be picked up by a better quality machine at a more up to date facility.”
Norton says patients should remember facilities that don’t fix the problems can’t offer mammograms until they do. And he says don’t hesitate to ask your doctor about the safety of mammography.