Lindsborg Community Hospital Offers New Service

October 22, 2010

Lindsborg Community Hospital is the first hospital in McPherson County to offer digital mammography. Mammography is a specific type of imaging that uses a low-doseHtmlResAnchor x-ray system to examine breasts. Also called a mammogram, the test is used to aid in the early detection and diagnosis of breast diseases. Mammograms are used as a screening tool to detect early breast cancer in women experiencing no symptoms and to detect and diagnose breast disease in women experiencing symptoms such as a lump, pain or nipple discharge.

Made possible through a partnership with United Radiology Group of Salina, this state-of-the-art technology is available via a mobile service outfitted with the equipment to provide digital mammography and bone density exams in one location, with just one visit. Teri Ellis is a registered mammographer bringing over 20 years of experience in mobile mammography services for Kansas women, and performs both exams.

From a patient perspective, the digital mammogram is nearly identical to film screen mammography. Both use compression and x-ray to generate images of the breast. But in place of using film to capture and record the image, a digital mammogram uses solid-state detectors similar to those found in digital cameras to convert x-rays into electrical signals. Those signals create an image on a high resolution computer screen so the radiologist can magnify images, increase or decrease the contrast and invert the black and white values while reading the images. These features allow the radiologists to detect small calcifications, masses, and other changes that might be signs of cancer. Digital mammography uses less radiation than film mammography.

To supplement this technology, Computer Aided Detection (CAD) is used to screen all mammograms done at Lindsborg Community Hospital. CAD highlights characteristics commonly associated with breast cancer, and flags abnormalities to help the radiologist detect early breast cancer. CAD is, in essence, a second set of eyes to support and enhance the radiologist's judgment, and may alert the radiologist to the need for additional testing.

The American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN) Digital Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial (DMIST) published in 2005, enrolled 49,528 women and found that digital mammography detected up to 28 percent more cancers than film mammography in women younger than 50 years of age, premenopausal and peri-menopausal women, as well as women with dense breasts.

Mammography detects 83 to 95 percent of cancers before they are clinically evident. Playing a central role in the early detection of breast cancers, mammography can show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them. Current guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the American Cancer Society (ACS), the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American College of Radiology (ACR) recommend screening mammography every year for women 40 and older. Annual mammograms lead to the early detection of breast cancers, which are the most curable when detected early. Research shows annual mammograms lead to early detection.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) adds that women who have had breast cancer and those who are at increased risk due to a genetic history of breast cancer should seek expert medical advice about whether they should begin screening before age 40 and about the frequency of screening.

Mammography is one of the few exams that do not require a physician order. If you have any questions or would like to schedule your mammogram please call 785-227-3308 extension 185.