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Ministry Health Care Community Report
Community Report

Ministry Good Samaritan Launches Advanced 3D Mammography

Ministry Good Samaritan Launches Advanced 3D Mammography Program

Women in Merrill and surrounding areas of rural Lincoln County now have access to the latest technology for breast cancer screening at Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center.

The new breast tomosynthesis produces a three-dimensional view of the breast tissue that helps radiologists identify and characterize individual breast structures without the confusion of overlapping tissue.

"We believe breast tomosynthesis will benefit all screening and diagnostic mammography patients, and is especially valuable for women receiving a baseline screening, those who have dense breast tissue and/or women with a personal history of breast cancer," said Alisa Johnson, MD, a Merrill radiologist on staff at Ministry Good Samaritan.

Ministry Good Samaritan’s Selenia® Dimensions® breast tomosynthesis system is made by Hologic, a world leader in digital mammography. The Selenia Dimensions system offers exceptionally sharp breast images, an advanced ergonomic design providing more patient comfort, and the ground-breaking tomosynthesis platform designed to deliver superior screening and diagnostic performance for all breast types.

According to published research by the Radiological Society of North America, breast cancer screening with tomosynthesis, when combined with a conventional 2D mammography, has a 40 percent higher invasive cancer detection rate than conventional 2D mammography alone.

"The tomosynthesis screening experience is similar to a traditional mammogram," said Mary Witte, director of diagnostic imaging at Ministry Good Samaritan. "During a tomosynthesis exam, multiple, low-dose images of the breast are acquired at different angles. These images are then used to produce a series of one-millimeter-thick slices that can be viewed as a 3D reconstruction of the breast."

"By offering women the latest and most advanced technology in mammography, we hope to detect breast cancer even earlier on annual screening mammograms," added Dr. Johnson. "Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women, exceeded only by lung cancer, and statistics indicate that one in eight women will develop breast cancer sometime in her lifetime. The stage at which breast cancer is detected influences a woman’s chance of survival. If detected early, the five-year survival rate is 98 percent."

Ministry Good Samaritan is committed to the fight against breast cancer by offering 3D screening and diagnostic mammography, breast ultrasound, ultrasound guided breast biopsies and breast magnetic resonance imaging all under the guidance of a Breast Care Patient Navigator.

If an irregularity is found on a diagnostic mammogram and a biopsy is recommended, patients are referred to a Breast Care Patient Navigator. They will help facilitate and coordinate breast health needs and the support necessary to answer questions and meet expectations. As nurse educators, Breast Care Patient Navigators provide facts and support decisions, schedule diagnostic testing and surgeries, identify resources for financial concerns, make referrals to community resources and provide support.

"Facing the complexities of breast care alone can be overwhelming and frightening," added Witte. "Our navigator is committed to providing comprehensive information while providing emotional support to our patients and their family."

The addition of the new technology also requires specialized training and education. As the result of a grant from the Ministry Good Samaritan Foundation, several members of the diagnostic imaging staff are participating in a comprehensive training seminar to better understand this new technology and its applications. "We are grateful for the support provided by the Foundation for this education which will benefit the patients and families we serve," said Witte.

The newly remodeled mammography suite will continue to provide traditional 2D mammography until the training is complete and in addition to 3D breast tomosynthesis for people who prefer that option or whose insurance provides coverage for only 2D mammography.

Published November 2015

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