Mammography Training in Saudi Complements Breast Screening Program
In Saudi Arabia, more than 70% of breast cancer cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage of disease, twice the rate observed in other developed countries. This needs to change because early detection improves outcomes and can reduced mortality by 25-30% or more.
That’s why the Saudi Ministry of Health runs the National Early Detection Breast Screening Program. GE has been a partner to the program since it launched in 2012, not only helping to provide screenings, but also in bringing world-class training to the Kingdom.
The most recent such training was organized by the Zahra Breast Cancer Association, with support from GE, and served to expand the competence and skills of 44 female technicians from across Saudi Arabia.
The Association was the key sponsor of the course, which was held in mid-November and equipped participants with the knowledge and experience they need to produce high-quality breast exams.
Launched more than a decade ago, the Association supports breast cancer awareness programs, mammogram screenings, training programs to deepen Saudi healthcare worker skills, and research, as well as services to support patients and survivors.
Instructors from Saudi Arabia and the United States, with decades of combined experience among them, led the workshop. The female technicians came from across the Kingdom to the Healthcare Skills Training Institute, which is located at the King Fahad Medical City School of Medicine in Riyadh.
The five-day course, which was held November 13-17, began with a review of the basic anatomy and physiology of the breast as it relates to images and mammographic positioning, then moved on to basic and advanced mammographic positioning, discussion of the types of breast cancer, basic pathology, and basic interventional procedures.
The participants underwent two full days of hands-on mammography positioning workshops with live models. Attendees received personalized training, working one-on-one with an instructor to learn proper mammographic positioning techniques.
The course was held under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Haifa Bint Faisal Bin Abdulaziz AlSaud, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Zahra Breast Cancer Association.
It was run in collaboration with Dr. Fatina AlTahan, Director of the National Early Detection Breast Screening Program, and the Medical Technology Management Institute in the United States.
Other examples of GE’s support to building the skills of Saudi radiologists include the region’s first American College of Radiology-led “imaging boot camp” that provided an intensive hands-on experience in mammography and breast ultrasonography.
Held in May, the boot camp developed participants’ skills in interpreting and evaluating mammography studies through hands-on interpretation of more than 240 digital screening and diagnostic mammograms and other medical images. There also were interventional workshops in breast ultrasound and stereotactic biopsy.
GE also is directly supporting screen programs, including three mobile clinics equipped with GE digital mammography and Healthcare IT capabilities and through cancer prevention awareness programs, including a breast cancer awareness web page that features information such as symptoms of breast cancer, and a breast cancer awareness video.
The information and training programs and partnerships reflect GE Healthcare’s commitment to building skills and capabilities among healthcare professionals and awareness among patients in Saudi Arabia.
GE Healthcare is a partner to national health authorities working hard to boost healthcare capacity in response to growing populations and increasing incidence of lifestyle diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.