In Germany breast cancer is, like in many other industrial nations, the most frequent cancer-disease of women (67.482 new diagnoses in 2011, according to the Association of Cancer Registries in Germany (GEKID)). For that reason, in June 2002, the German government decided the implementation of a nationwide quality-assured Mammography Screening Program, according to the European Guidelines (European guidelines for quality assurance in breast cancer screening and diagnosis, Fourth edition, European Commission, Luxembourg).
Every woman in the age group between 50 and 69 years receives a personal invitation for a quality assured mammography examination in one of the 94 screening-units. The program comprises about 10 million females and has a recall rate of two years.
The reference centers are taking a key role in the German screening-program. Under the administration of the cooperation-union of mammography, the tasks of these reference centers are to supervise and to manage the entire screening-project.
The Reference Center for Mammography in Münster (RCM) was the first of five nationwide spread centers. Under the management of Prof. Dr. Walter Heindel we started our work in 2005. The RCM will supervise 22 screening-units in the region of Nordrhein-Westfalen with a catchment area of 2.2 million women. The main focus of the RCM is digital mammography and its impact in the program.
- Advanced training and education of the screening-staff
- Quality assurance (QA) of the screening mammograms from the medical point of view.
- Technical QA of all mammography-units in the screening-program (at the moment 115 units). That includes a daily, monthly and annual control of all necessary system parameters that have an influence on the image quality, according to the European Guidelines. These controls are assisted by an internet supported QA-program.
- Management and coordination of the associated reference screening-unit.
- Public relations
- Scientific evaluation of the screening-program with a focus on the region of Nordrhein-Westfalen.
The mean scientific task of the RCM is the evaluation of the digital mammography technique.
- Capabilities of patient dose reduction of the full field digital mammography (FFDM) compared to conventional film systems.
- Trials and analyses of new examination techniques with FFDM (e.g. contrast enhanced subtraction mammography).
- Prof. Dr. med Walter Heindel
- Dr. med. Stefanie Weigel
- Dipl.-Ing. Horst Lenzen
- Dipl.-Ing. Alexander Sommer
- Dipl.-Ing. Rainer Esseling
- Brigitte Hurtienne
- Jörg Czwoydzinski, M.Sc.
The RCM has two mammography-units. The reference screening-unit as well as the assessment-unit are both equipped with an advanced digital detector system.
- Digital breast scan mammography system (Philips MicroDosis Mammography)
- Digital full field mammography system (Lorad Dimensions FFDM)
- Micro-Focus X-Ray for Breast Specimen
- High Resolution Ultrasound System with 13 MHz (Siemens Medical Solutions)
- Vacuum-Assisted Breast Biopsy (Mammotome)
- 10 mammography workstations (Sectra and Lorad)
- Mammography PACS
- Dr. Decker, Prof. Böcker: Reference Center for Mamma Screening Pathology
- Dr. Joke Tio: Dept. of Gynaecological Surgery, University Hospital Muenster
- Prof. Mats Daniellson, Stockholm, Sweden
- Prof. Per Skaane, Ulleval University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
- Dr. med. Oliver Heidinger: Epidemiological Cancer Registry of North Rhine-Westphalia, Muenster, Germany
- Prof. Dr. med. Hans-Werner Hense: Institute of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, Medical Faculty of Westfälische Wilhelms University, Muenster, Germany
Support of students
In the context of research projects the RCM gives students the opportunity to write there dissertations, diploma- and master-thesis as well as internships.