Mammograms are an important method in the diagnosis and screening of breast cancer. With an effective screening program, most breast cancers are found at an early stage, which significantly improves the prognosis of cancer treatment. Image quality is seen as playing a very important role in detectability. At the same time, however, it is important to minimize the amount of harmful X-ray radiation doses.
“According to the principle of optimization of radiation protection (ICRP 2007), the dose from an X-ray examination must be reduced if it can be done without compromising the reliability of a diagnosis. Good image quality with the lowest possible X-ray doses has also been the starting point for Innomentarium’s FeniX solution,” says Raija Kilponen, who works at Innomentarium as a product manager.
For example, when performing screening mammography, special attention is paid to the optimization of patient doses and image quality, because radiation is used to image healthy and asymptomatic individuals and the sample size is large (STUK-TR 11). In accordance with the Radiation Act (859/2018) and Regulation (STUK S / 4/2019) issued by the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority in Finland, patients’ exposure to radiation from X-ray examinations must be monitored regularly and compared to the reference levels given for examinations in order to optimize radiation protection.
“In mammography, the quantity describing dose level is mean glandular dose (MGD), which is used to assess the radiation exposure to radiation-sensitive glandular tissue of the breast. The unit of measurement is gray (Gy). In Finland, the limit set by the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority in Finland is 1.5 milligray (mGy),” says Kilponen.
When comparing doses to reference levels, average doses from at least 10 patients are calculated. Individuals are selected for the group to be studied in such a way that the thickness of the compressed breast is between 40 mm and 60 mm and the mean thickness is approximately 50 mm.
Innomentarium has now developed a special software program for glandular tissue dose calculation that can be utilized in conjunction with the company’s FeniX solution. The software utilizes imaging parameters that are transferred from the device to the workstation software using a data transfer solution developed by Innomentarium. Patient data is obtained from the RIS interface.
“The glandular tissue dose is reported in the workstation software in image view mode as the mGy value to three decimal accuracy. The glandular tissue dose information is stored in the DICOM data file of the image and is transferred with the image to PACS. The software makes it faster and easier to monitor and record statistics of glandular tissue doses because there is no need to record values manually,” Kilponen explains.
“Our FeniX solution is a cost-effective and ecological option to shift to direct digital mammography because an existing analog device can be upgraded to the digital age with modern direct digital technology. The development of glandular tissue dose calculation as part of FeniX makes our solution a unique entity that can further enhance mammography screening,” she concludes.