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St. Mary Medical Center Adds Another Tool for the Early Detection of Breast Cancer
State-of-the-art imaging will offer greater flexibility for technologist to obtain accurate readings.

LANGHORNE, Pa., October 1, 2008 – St. Mary Medical Center today announced that it has added a new advanced digital mammography unit to its complement of breast cancer detection tools. The new full-field digital mammography system provides the largest field of view available, allowing women with larger breasts to have a single scan per view rather than a series of scans that image sections of the breast. This provides radiologists with a more accurate, easier-to-read scan and improves efficiency of imaging patients of diverse shapes and sizes. The ergonomic design optimizes patient comfort while state-of-the-art technology offers excellent image quality and reduced exam times.

All mammography studies performed in the St. Mary Breast Center use digital technology coupled with computer-aided detection (CAD). A digital mammography system transfers images to a high-powered computer where they can be enhanced electronically. Doctors can then zoom in, magnify, brighten and optimize select parts of the image to enhance readability and interpretation. Because the digital images are available immediately for review, wait times and the need for retakes can be reduced. The CAD capability functions as a virtual “second look” or “second pair of eyes” that is so important to the early detection of breast cancer. The CAD software is programmed to identify suspicious areas of concern and bring them to the attention of the radiologist.

This new mammography unit expands on this capability. “We have added yet another powerful technology for the detection of breast cancer,” says St. Mary Medical Director of Radiology Dr. Paul Weiser. “Digital technology provides precision and increased ease of use for our patients. Making an accurate diagnosis of breast cancer in an early stage of the disease is of the utmost importance to St. Mary and our patients. This state-of-the-art technology is one way we can help ensure that we detect breast cancer at the earliest time possible,” says Weiser.

Another benefit of digital mammography is that the images are sent electronically to the St. Mary Picture Archival and Communication System (PACS). The PACS technology extends to all imaging modalities at St. Mary including digital mammography, diagnostic radiology, MRI including specialized studies for breast, CAT scan, ultrasound, PET-CT, and nuclear medicine. All images are captured electronically, and doctors in any part of the hospital or connected medical buildings can access patient images over a secure Internet-based channel. With PACS, images are available for viewing in different areas of the hospital simultaneously as needed for team diagnoses. For instance, in the case of digital mammography, a primary care physician or breast surgeon can consult with the imaging specialist and simultaneously view the same examination.

The incidence rate of breast cancer in the region is well above the state and national average. To better serve the community, St. Mary opened the St. Mary Breast Center in 2006. The Breast Center provides expert, compassionate care in a comfortable, warm environment; timely responses to health issues; and a full array of services and state-of-the-art technology for early detection, diagnosis, and treatment. In addition to digital mammography, services at the St. Mary Breast Center include ultrasound, bone density scan, and ultrasound-guided breast biopsies, as well as a Women’s Resource Center.

During National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, St. Mary encourages all women over age 40 to get an annual screening mammography to help diagnose breast cancer early, when it is most treatable.