Fear is such a strong motivator that it can prevent people from doing the right thing. In fact, the fear of having a mammogram can be so great for women— due to worry that it will be painful, embarrassing, or that it may reveal cancer or another problem— that they sometimes avoid it all together.
For those reasons, Sarah Bush Lincoln has transformed the mammography experience in the newly opened Women’s Imaging Center, with the hope that more women with have annual mammograms.
The center, located on the first floor of the Health Center near the Gift Shop, allows women to bypass general registration and check in there. Spacious dressing rooms allow women to change and then relax in private, comfortable waiting areas before their scans.
All mammography units feature tomosynthesis, or 3D scanning, the most advanced technology available in the detection of breast cancer. Clinically proven to significantly increase the detection of breast cancers, tomosynthesis also decreases the number of women who are asked to return for additional testing.
“This 3D technology reveals invasive breast cancers in 41 percent more people than traditional 2D mammography reveals,” said Stacia Goings, Director of SBL Diagnostic Imaging. “We are excited to provide advanced care to our patients to give them the best chance of survival.” Next month, the same technology will be available on a new mobile mammography van.
In conventional 2D mammography, overlapping tissue is a leading reason why small breast cancers may be missed and why normal tissue may appear abnormal— a common cause of unnecessary callbacks, she explained. The three-dimensional imagining that tomosynthesis offers can greatly reduce the impact of tissue overlap.
Along with the 3D technology, the Women’s Imaging Center is being equipped with curved paddles to offer greater comfort during exams. The center also offers DEXA scans (a technology that measures bone density and body composition) and breast ultrasound biopsies.
The Women’s Imaging Center’s breast nurse navigator, Retha Garver, RN, helps women who have suspicious scans and breast cancer diagnoses navigate next steps. Her support and guidance is invaluable for many women, especially those who do not have a strong or local support system. Garver accompanies women to tests and doctor visits, serves as a “second set of ears” and even interprets medical information so women better understand their options and can make informed choices.
For more information or to make an appointment for a mammogram, please call 217 258-2588.