The Impact of Breast Cancer Molecular Imaging on the Education and Certification of the Radiologic Technologist.


Molecular imaging is paving the way to the future of breast cancer detection. Compared to mammography, breast cancer molecular imaging provides a more sensitive, faster, and effective way to detect breast cancer on a cellular level rather than on a gross level. Traditional imaging technologies like mammography detect breast cancer by imaging the morphological changes caused by the disease. In contrast, breast cancer molecular imaging detects the molecular processes in the body that may develop into a disease. Imaging on the cellular level allows for the detection of cancer in its pre-disease state before it actually becomes breast cancer.

This study examined the education and certification of radiologic technologists to determine if these processes are keeping pace with the shift in imaging technology. This was accomplished by examining the tasks performed by radiologic technologists during breast cancer molecular imaging in relation to the current education and certification requirements. Questionnaires were sent out to radiologic technologists regarding the education and training they received in order to perform the tasks associated with breast cancer molecular imaging. The American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) and American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) were contacted to obtain information about their current and future plans regarding the impact of molecular imaging on the education and certification of radiologic technologists.

The data revealed that the radiologic technologists performing molecular imaging procedures were trained on the job, and that performing breast cancer molecular imaging required a level of know ledge and skills that exceed the levels of the current curriculum guides and certification content specifications. The ARRT has appointed a committee to investigate the need for advanced certification in molecular imaging. The curriculum guides developed by the ASRT do not include content pertaining to molecular imaging procedures. The ASRT is planning to incorporate molecular imaging into the entry level radiography curriculum, as well as into the advanced imaging modalities curriculum guides. The deciding factor on whether molecular imaging will become a completely separate imaging modality or become integrated into existing curriculum guides will depend on the finding of the ARRT and its collaboration with the ASRT.


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Thesis Completion





Edwards, Thomas J.


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Health and Public Affairs

Degree Program

Radiologic Sciences


Dissertations, Academic -- Health and Public Affairs; Health and Public Affairs -- Dissertations, Academic







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

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