October 6, 2009 -
Olympic Medical Center now offers digital mammography – a state-of-the-art screening and diagnostic technology – and should be received as exciting news for the community, particularly women of screening age 40 and up.
“Today is the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and what better way to celebrate the fight against breast cancer than to unveil this valuable technology to women in our community,” says Deby King, director of diagnostic imaging at Olympic Medical. “Women who have been screened before will notice the mammography technologist will be in the room with them throughout the exam, and the actual appointment will seem shorter since we no longer must go look at films – the image of the patient’s breast is right there in the room and can be viewed immediately.”
King and her staff have worked diligently over the last month to install the equipment at the Olympic Medical Park Medical Services Building in Sequim, and Olympic Medical Imaging Center on Front Street and Olympic Memorial Hospital on Caroline Street in Port Angeles. The Olympic Medical Center radiologist team is excited about the switch as well, as the real benefits of digital mammography can be found on their desktop.
“With digital mammography, radiologists can take advantage of high-tech, versatile features that aren’t available with film,” says Dr. Lilly Rezvani, radiologist on medical staff at Olympic Medical. “Because of the digital nature of the images we can manipulate the images electronically to create better visibility of tissue and anomalies, particularly in the dense breast tissue we see in younger women. We can make the image darker or lighter, we can zoom in or out and we can share it electronically if we’d like to consult with our peers in different locations. We can also utilize the computer aided detection feature that flags areas the program sees as unusual so we can take a closer look. We are very excited to have these new tools available to us.”
Screening Saves Lives
For women over 40, it is important to receive an annual screening mammogram. The prevalence of breast cancer in Clallam County is astounding and is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths. When breast cancer is caught early, the five-year survival rate is 96% according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Late stage breast cancer, what is often diagnosed in women who do not receive annual screenings or perform monthly self exams, drops down to a 50 percent chance of recovery.
“At this point we may not be able to eliminate breast cancer, but we can make a difference by finding breast cancer early – when a lump is the size of a small seed versus the size of a golf ball,” says King. “Women should not delay in receiving their mammograms. Our mammography technologists work hard to make the procedure as comfortable and pain-free as possible.”
King also reminds women of the importance of self exams. “You will be more likely to recognize a new lump in your breast if you do self exams on a monthly basis. Many women even have their partners perform the exam and we encourage that too. The important thing is that you are aware of a change when it occurs,” she says. “If you notice a change in your breast, call your doctor. For more information on digital mammography or to schedule your annual screening, please call (360) 565-9003.
Giving Thanks to First Federal
In early 2009, First Federal made a generous corporate donation of $375,000 through its Community Dividend Fund to support the purchase and installation of digital mammography at Olympic Medical Center, as well as provide free screenings for women who qualify.
“The financial support provided by First Federal made digital mammography a reality at Olympic Medical Center. Sharing this cost with us, we were able to purchase digital mammography and install it sooner than we may have been able to without their support. We are very thankful for their generous donation and their support of women’s health,” says Rhonda Curry, assistant administrator at Olympic Medical.
Joins Us for the Digital Mammography Community Open House November 4
Olympic Medical Center will celebrate digital mammography and the generous donation by First Federal from 2 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, November 4, at Olympic Medical Imaging Center on Front Street. Delicious hors d’oeuvres will be provided by Seasons Café catering staff and a drawing for various prizes will be held. The community is invited to join us for this special event.
Olympic Medical Center is a comprehensive health care provider for more than 70,000 residents of Clallam County. It provides inpatient services at its 126-bed acute care facility, and outpatient services, including cancer care, cardiac services, imaging, surgical services, rehabilitation therapy, laboratory and home health at locations throughout the Olympic Peninsula region. For more information call 417-7000 or visit us at www.olympicmedical.org.