October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and that’s something that staff at Mountrail County Medical Center would like their patients to remember. Getting a mammogram is easier for patients in the Stanley area thanks to a Mammomat Revelation 3-D mammogram that was added to the radiology department last August.
Now a year into serving patients Mammography Technologist Beth Johnson, RT, says they have seen more than double the patients they thought they would see when they started offering the services last year. She says that patients are really happy with the ability to have the 3D mammogram done compared to the 2D that is offered with the mobile unit.
The 3D slice technology is especially valued by patients with dense or fibrous breast tissue. Many of those patients who receive a recall or follow up recommendation after having the 2D mammogram. That would mean a wait to get in to have the 3D mammogram done and result in a drive to at least Minot to have it done.
Because of the 3D technology, Johnson says, it is possible to catch issues earlier because they see deeper into the breast tissue. She says that dense tissue and cancerous tissues sometimes look the same, so the thin slices make it easier to differentiate.
Johnson says that patients are still scheduled one day per week, but if the demand rose additional days could be scheduled. She says that she has also been able to offer the services in the evening when she has two or three patients making the request. She says that makes it easier for women who work during the day with her ability to adjust the schedule.
She also wants patients to know that they do not need to feel self-conscious coming in for the mammogram. They have made the unit as pleasant, private and comfortable for patients as possible.
Mammogram recommendations call for a baseline at age 40 unless there is a family history or current issue that has a doctor recommending an earlier scan. There is not a “cut off” or “age out” date for mammograms, which are recommended yearly.
Johnson says that patients are grateful to have the 3D services. She says that patients should feel and know that they are getting the latest technology possible with the machine. The machine was purchased through funding from the Reiarson Trust. That money was set aside with specific conditions. It cannot help with operations at all for the hospital or clinic but can aid them by purchasing different equipment for the facility.
Getting a mammogram is a unique opportunity because it allows for early detection or peace of mind for patients. With Breast Cancer Awareness in October, now is the perfect time to schedule your mammogram, especially if you have been putting it off over concerns of travel time for a relatively short test.
This article is reprinted with the gracious consent of the Mountrail County Promoter.