Author(s): Young KC, Burch A, Oduko JM
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Abstract The mean glandular doses (MGD) to samples of women attending for mammographic screening are measured routinely at screening centres in the UK Breast Screening Programme (NHSBSP). This paper reviews a large representative sample of dose measurements collected during screening in the NHSBSP in 2001 and 2002 for 53 218 films, using 290 X-ray sets, for 16 505 women. The average MGD was 2.23 mGy per oblique film and 1.96 mGy per craniocaudal film; similar to those found previously in the NHSBSP for the years 1997 and 1998. Increasing use of sophisticated units with automatic beam quality selection has reduced the radiation dose received by large breasts, with only 2\% of oblique mammograms having doses in excess of 5 mGy. The increasing use of large format film has also reduced the doses to this sub-group. However the total dose per woman has increased due to the introduction of two view screening at every visit. The MGD to the standard breast was found to vary from 0.76 mGy to 2.29 mGy, with 97\% of units below the recommended upper limit of 2 mGy, illustrating the benefit of strict quality control. A reduction in dose of 3\% was observed between the age bands 50-54 years and 60-64 years. This study has confirmed that the proposed national diagnostic reference level (NDRL) of 3.5 mGy for 55 mm thick breasts is an appropriate value to identify systems giving unusually high doses, with just 3.5\% of systems exceeding this level. In most cases these higher doses were explained by the design of one particular make of X-ray set and its mode of operation. Average doses for oblique views of average sized breasts were fairly well correlated with the dose to the standard breast, and typically 42\% higher. This highlights the need for a revised definition of the standard breast used in the UK to better reflect the exposure factors and doses received in clinical practice.
This article was published in Br J Radiol
and referenced in OMICS Journal of Radiology