Last updated: June 01. 2013 12:22AM - 334 Views
Michael Howlett
Staff Writer

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Comparing images from the new mammography equipment at Twin County Regional Hospital (TCRH) to images from its previous equipment is much like the difference in looking at a High Definition television as opposed to an old standard model.

The new digital mammography equipment at the Galax hospital makes that much difference in the images produced. Not only that, the new equipment is up to 28 percent more accurate and results in patients spending about half the time at the hospital as in the past for breast exams.

“The pictures tell you more than words could ever say,” said TCRH Mammography Technologist Kim Kimble, R.T.(R)(M), CRH. “I’m really excited we are able to offer this technology to our patients.”

Just in time for breast cancer awareness month, TCRH now offers digital mammography, the latest technology available in the fight against breast cancer. The new system includes integrated Computer Aided Detection (CAD). CAD provides a “second look” for the Radiologists to focus attention to potential areas of concern, improving the accuracy of cancer detection.

“It helps us get a much better look at the dense tissue or fibrocystic tissue, the type of tissue that often hides breast cancer,” Kimble said. “It’s hard to see it, but now we have the technology that allows us to penetrate those areas better and get a much better look.”

Additionally, David Payne, Director of Diagnostic Imaging, CRA, BS, RT(R) said a high-resolution monitor allows doctors to zoom in and concentrate even more on potential problem areas.

“It’s a lot quicker for the patient and it reduces the number of repeated tests,” Kimble said. “I think it shows Duke LifePoint’s commitment to the hospital and the community. We’ve needed this technology and now it’s here. The patients are loving it and they are amazed about how quick it is.”

Payne said Duke LifePoint intended to make the digital mammogram equipment one of the first major projects at the hospital since a partnership began six months ago. He said it shows the company’s understanding of the needs of the hospital and the community.

“It helps us with our mission of meeting the needs of the community,” Payne said. “This equipment will help us reach that goal.”

Digital mammography is different from conventional mammography in how the image of the breast is acquired and more importantly viewed. The use of mammography, and in particular digital mammography, has greatly enhanced the ability to detect breast cancer at an early stage, when it’s most treatable. Digital mammography detected significantly more cancers than screen-film mammography in women 50 and younger, premenopausal and perimenopausal women, and women with dense breasts, according to results from the American College of Radiology Digital Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial (DMIST). All mammograms at Twin County Regional Hospital are now performed with digital mammography system.

Breast cancer statistics are staggering:

One of eight women living in the U.S. will get breast cancer in her lifetime.

Breast cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. It’s the leading cause of death in 35 to 65 year old women.

The good news is that if breast cancer is found early, before the cancer has spread, the five year survival rate is 98 percent. Over 2.5 million American women with a history of breast cancer are alive today thanks largely to the many new techniques for finding and treating the disease.

For most women 40 and over, an annual mammogram is the best way of finding breast cancer early. Mammograms play a central part in the early detection of breast cancer because they can detect changes in the breast that may be early signs of cancer, but are too small or subtle to be felt. By offering the latest technology in mammography, Twin County Regional Hospital is committed to the fight against breast cancer and hopes to increase the number of women who follow the recommendations for regular screenings.

For more information about this life-saving technology or to schedule a mammogram appointment, please call Twin County Regional Hospital Diagnostic Imaging at (276) 236-1680.

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