All comprehensive cancer programs, particularly those offering radiation therapy services, should have a full imaging services department for both diagnostic and treatment planning purposes. Having such services as part of the oncology program will allow for better integration of overall cancer care and provide patient convenience and confidence.
Imaging Services within a cancer program usually serve two distinct purposes–use in diagnostic indications to assist in the detection, diagnosis, and staging of cancer, and use in treatment planning and tumor localization processes in preparation for radiation therapy treatment. Imaging services offered in a comprehensive cancer center include, but are not limited to:
Computerized (or computed) tomography. Often referred to as computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan, this is an x-ray procedure that combines many x-ray images with the aid of a computer to generate cross-sectional views and, if needed, three-dimensional images of the internal organs and structures of the body.
Echocardiogram. This imaging modality uses ultrasound technology to make live images of the heart to show its structure and function.
Endoscopy. An imaging procedure used to diagnose problems in the gastrointestinal tract.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI technology is used in radiology to image the anatomy and the physiological processes using strong magnetic fields, radio waves, and field gradients to form images of the body.
Positron emission tomography (PET) scan. This imaging technology uses radioactive substances (tracers) to look for disease in the body. A PET scan shows how organs and tissues are working. These two units are often combined into a single piece of equipment, a PET/CT machine, which can do either process – separately or together.
X-ray. Medical x-rays, a form of electromagnetic radiation, are used to image tissues and structures inside the body.
Some cancer programs have a formally or informally associated Breast Center that is dedicated to screening and diagnostic services relating to breast health. Such departments will offer a full complement of mammography services, the use of x-rays to image the breast. Screening mammograms are used in the routine screening for breast cancers and diagnostic mammograms are used to diagnose abnormalities or areas of interest noted within the breast. Such programs often have additional diagnostic equipment such as breast ultrasound, breast MRI units, and Tomosynthesis 3D mammography units.
The American College of Radiology (ACR) offers the following accreditation programs:
The American College of Radiology offers accreditation for both the imaging services and the radiation therapy aspects of programs.
Most imaging services performed for diagnosis and treatment planning purposes with a suspected or confirmed cancer diagnosis are covered. Additionally, for approved indications and approved status, most insurers will cover imaging services for diagnostic screening purposes. Many coverage decisions require American College of Radiology Accreditation for the providing entity.
Mercy Health – Lourdes Hospital in Paducah, Kentucky, serves a very large geographic area covering the Western Kentucky and Southern Illinois region. As an integrated facility that stands alone in a geographically isolated area, the program needs to access all services necessary in the detection, staging, and treatment planning processes of cancer care.
The Diagnostic Imaging Services at Mercy Health - Lourdes provides a complete range of high-quality diagnostic and interventional radiology imaging using state-of-the-art equipment. All modalities are accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR). Mercy Health Diagnostic Imaging Services delivers quality images and uses radiation dose-reduction techniques, which means shorter imaging time and less radiation to patients. Radiology and Imaging Services:
Mercy Health - Lourdes provides diagnostic imaging in three locations. Within the main hospital, the Diagnostic Imaging Department offers the complete imaging service line of diagnostic radiography, fluoroscopy, interventional special procedures, CT, MRI, nuclear medicine, PET, ultrasound, mammography, and bone density. Adjacent to the main hospital, Lourdes Medical Pavilion offers CT, ultrasound, nulear medicine, mammography, and bone density services. Lourdes Imaging Benton Facility, a regional office, offers diagnostic radiography, CT, and ultrasound.