Thursday, July 9th, 2020

State-of-the-art mammography available at PHH

Posted: Friday, February 14, 2020

Getting an annual mammogram should be an essential part of routine health check-ups for women 40 and over. Parkview Huntington Hospital (PHH) now offers the latest technology, 3D mammography, close to home to make that task easier.

Mammograms represent the front line in diagnosing and defeating breast cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, one in eight women living in the U.S. will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Eight out of nine women who are diagnosed with the disease have no family history of it, according to breastcancer.org. Men can develop breast cancer, too, although the disease is less common in males.

Regardless of a person’s gender, catching any cancer early through screening is vitally important. 3D mammography is a proven tool in discovering breast cancer early on, when it is most treatable. In fact, with 3D technology, doctors can detect the disease an average of 15 months earlier than with conventional, 2D mammography.

“We are very excited to be able to bring this technological advancement to Parkview Huntington,” said Juli Johnson, president, PHH. “3D mammography is the ‘gold standard’ when it comes to women’s healthcare, and Huntington County residents deserve easier access to this quality of care. Better images can lead to more effective treatment. And we have more changes coming that will improve the experience for our patients.”

This state-of-the-art technology produces highly detailed, multi-layered images, like pages in a book, giving clinicians a clearer view inside the breast tissue than the flat images of 2D mammography. This means tiny details are no longer hidden by the tissue above or below because clinicians can look at them layer by layer.

The process is essentially the same for 3D as for 2D, so patients can expect a similar type of exam and should take care not to apply deodorant or body lotion on the day of the appointment. The new machine has the capability to provide either 2D or 3D mammography and takes images of compressed breast tissue. Only a few extra seconds of compression is needed to generate a more accurate, 3D reading of the tissue. Images are reviewed by a board-certified radiologist, who then reports results to the patient’s physician.

“While digital or 2D mammography is still a good tool, for some women – especially those who have denser breast tissue – additional imaging has sometimes been needed to get a clear view inside the tissue,” said Tonya Rakoczy, manager of diagnostic imaging, PHH. “Returning to the hospital for more tests can be stressful and time-consuming for patients. 3D allows us to be more efficient with their time while producing incredibly detailed images that help radiologists find cancers at earlier stages.”

The mammography technologist works with each patient to make the process as comfortable as possible. For patient convenience and greater privacy, a separate waiting area has been created inside a new suite for mammography and DEXA scan. Patients who need to have multiple imaging procedures during one visit will not need to get redressed and undressed again to go back out into the main waiting area; instead, they will soon be able to relax in a cozy private space.

The arrival of 3D mammography and the creation of the private waiting area are part of the renovation currently underway in PHH’s Diagnostic Services area. For the next several weeks, check-in has been temporarily moved to the hospital’s central lobby while work is underway. After construction on a new check-in desk, the former mammography room will be converted to a second ultrasound room, and the hallways and main waiting area that serve Imaging and Lab will receive new flooring and finishes. Next-generation DEXA scan equipment – used to measure bone density for detection of osteoporosis – should also be installed by the end of the project.

To schedule your 3D mammogram appointment at PHH, call (260) 266-7500. Appointments are available Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Please check with your insurance provider regarding your benefits prior to scheduling.

Shown in the photo is Kelli Lesh, mammography technologist at Parkview Huntington Hospital, as she navigates some of the features of PHH’s new 3D mammography system. The new technology, which produces clearer, more detailed images than the previous, 2D mammography can lead to earlier diagnosis of breast cancer.