Australian BREAST moves overseas
16 May 2013
A web-based training tool for reading mammograms developed by researchers at the University of Sydney's Faculty of Health Sciences is poised to be implemented by breast screening services across the globe.
The online tool known as Breast Screen Reader Assessment Strategy (BREAST) has been used successfully in Australia for more than two years and monitors the performance of radiologists in detecting and diagnosing abnormalities in breast x-rays.
BREAST was recently adopted by the New Zealand Ministry of Health and plans for its implementation as an essential training tool for radiologists are underway with health ministries in countries where the incidence of breast cancer is on the rise including Saudi Arabia, China, Vietnam and the United States.
According to Professor Patrick Brennan, Associate Dean of International Research Development, at the Faculty of Health Sciences as many as 800,000 Australian women undergo a mammogram each year and reading a mammogram can be one of the most challenging components of a radiologist's job.
Professor Brennan says while he is currently finalising plans for the programs implementation in several countries, BREAST will be made available to radiologists and radiology registrars who read mammograms in screening services throughout New Zealand in the next few weeks.
"BREAST will give clinicians in New Zealand the opportunity to assess their proficiency in spotting tumors and correctly identifying normal cases," states Professor Brennan.
The New Zealand Ministry of Health said it had approved the implementation of the Breast Screen Reader Assessment Strategy as their national training, assessment and research tool to improve the early detection of breast cancer in women across the country. The department also said the program was a key feature in Breast Screen Aotearoa's commitment to providing a quality service to women in New Zealand and transforming the detection of breast cancer.
Professor Brennan says as the program which was co-developed with Professor Warwick Lee and Ms Kriscia Tapia provides clinicians with immediate, meaningful feedback on their ability to read and interpret mammograms and is coupled with training for clinicians continuing professional development.
"Information gathered from participants during training sessions will be valuable in addressing some of the questions around breast cancer and continuing development of imaging technologies," states Professor Brennan.