Lifestyle

Digital mammography available

Dr. David Rice shows Enumclaw Regional Healthcare Foundation leaders Megan Farr and Alan Predmore the hospital’s latest mammography unit. - Photo courtesy Gale Robinette
Dr. David Rice shows Enumclaw Regional Healthcare Foundation leaders Megan Farr and Alan Predmore the hospital’s latest mammography unit.
— image credit: Photo courtesy Gale Robinette

Enumclaw Regional Hospital now uses state-of-the-art digital technology to provide screening and diagnostic mammograms, which ensures our patients more convenience and greater peace of mind about their test results.

Mammography is probably the most important tool doctors have to help diagnose breast cancer and follow women who’ve had the disease. Thanks to sophisticated digital technology, this tool is better than ever.

The digital imaging technology we use at Enumclaw Regional Hospital is the gold standard for mammography. Only about 40 percent of breast imaging centers in the United States offer digital mammograms.

Safe and highly accurate, a mammogram is a low-dose X-ray photograph of the breast. Mammography can detect cancer or other problems before a lump becomes large enough to be felt, as well as assist in the diagnosis of other breast problems. The National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society and the American College of Radiology recommend a mammogram every year for women 40 and older.

Digital mammography uses the same technique as traditional film screen mammography except, with digital, images of unparalleled clarity and detail are recorded directly into a computer. These images can then be enlarged or highlighted as needed by the radiologist.

Thanks to this advanced technology, we are able to detect potential signs of cancer even when those signs are smaller than a speck of dust. The earlier that breast cancer is detected, the greater the chance for successful medical treatment.

Benefits of digital mammography for our patients include greater convenience, increased comfort during the exam and potentially less exposure to radiation. The time required for a screening mammogram is also reduced. With typical screen film mammography, patients usually undergo four views, film processing and then a technologist review. If additional images are needed, this cumbersome process must be repeated.

With full-field digital mammography we use exclusively at Enumclaw Regional Hospital, image processing is immediate. This feature allows the technologist to reposition the patient and redo an image if necessary. Because our technologists can view images within seconds and confirm proper positioning of the patient, this reduces the likelihood that patients will be called back so additional images can be made. And with digital image manipulation, an image that would need to be repeated on film mammography can be adjusted and brought back to diagnostic quality with the computer. Fewer repeat images means less exposure to radiation for the patient.

Finally, storing and archiving images is greatly improved with digital technology because no studies are lost and there’s no need to store films. If necessary, we can electronically send images to other specialists anywhere in the region or nation for a second opinion.

With the advanced digital technology used at Enumclaw Regional Hospital, patients are ensured of world-class mammography services, close to home. To schedule a digital mammogram, call the hospital at 360-802-2505.

Radiologist David Rice is medical director of imaging services at Enumclaw Regional Hospital and president of the hospital’s medical staff. He is certified by the American Board of Radiology.

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