Providence Imaging Center, a leader in mammography in Alaska, announces the installation of Alaska's first digital mammography to replace traditional film mammography beginning in June 2005.
Mammography, used in the detection of breast cancer, has been shown to reduce death rates from breast cancer by at least 30 percent in women over age 50. Researchers believe the use of digital mammography could lead to a further decrease in deaths. The system, called full-field digital mammography (FFDM), provides several key benefits compared to traditional mammography:
- the digital machines chosen by PIC have state-of-the-art image acquisition-the highest quality image available on the market today.
- high quality images are available to view within seconds after exposure
- images can be digitally enhanced and manipulated for accurate diagnosis
- the number of views needed for a diagnostic mammogram is reduced.
"Digital mammography allows the radiologist to manipulate the contrast, brightness and magnification levels of the image to better see abnormalities. A CAD system, as part of the digital software, also facilitates the use of computer aided detection," said Janice Anderson, M.D., Providence Imaging Center radiologist.
While the patient's experience of getting a mammogram won't be any different with the digital device, anxiety is lessened by not having to wait for the images to be developed. The use of electronic manipulation and the ability to magnify the images will result in fewer patients needing to be called back.
"Providence Imaging Center performs more than 25,000 mammograms a year, therefore the storage and retrieval of traditional films is a challenge. With FFDM, mammograms are acquired, processed and archived in a completely digital format, eliminating the need for film storage and gives easier access to the health care providers," said Laura McDonough, Providence Imaging Center's executive director.