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‘Breast Days’ aided by new mammography equipment

A new initiative launched at Erie Shores HealthCare, coinciding with the arrival of a new mammography machine, will substantially speed up diagnosis and improve patient outcomes and comfort.

Breast Days is an initiative that accelerates the diagnostic process for breast cancer. During these dedicated days (Tuesdays and Thursdays), patients referred by their family physician will receive a diagnostic mammogram, followed immediately by an ultrasound if needed. Should these tests raise concerns, a biopsy will be scheduled within 72 hours. This will significantly reduce waiting times and will streamline patient care.

The new mammography machine will also feature contrast-enhanced imaging — a first for this region. This advanced technology allows radiologists to detect unusual blood flow patterns — often a sign of cancer growth — making it easier to identify cancers at an earlier stage.

The contrast-enhancement portion was funded by a $130,000 donation from the Yes Ma’am Fashion Show, which was spearheaded by co-chairs Cat Mucci and Tanya Mastronardi.

Dr. Brigitte Ala, of Erie Shores HealthCare’s diagnostic imaging team, says that the new machine will be a game changer.

“It’s really huge,” she says. “It’s such a step forward for diagnostics and patients in this region.”

Dr. Ala said the previous machine is about 10 years old, while the new one — especially with the contrast-enhancement — is as “updated as you can get.”

Patient Carolyn Fordyce agrees.

“I’m telling women don’t be afraid,” she says.

Fordyce explained that, unlike previous mammograms, the new machine requires less compression and gives a better picture of the breast and is much quicker.

She was in for a mammogram under the new program, which showed a small spot, and then immediately was taken to the next room for an ultrasound. After that, she returned to the mammography room for a contrast-enhanced mammogram. Within days, she had a biopsy done and now awaits the results.

“I didn’t have to go home and stew about it and not sleep,” she says. “This is much better.”

The cost of the new machinery is about $700,000.

A $25,000 donation from Tania and Mathew Iacobelli went toward renovating the space in the hospital to accommodate the new machine.

Erie Shores has also extended testing hours to six days a week, which will allow for an additional 25 mammograms per week.

The new mammography machine is just one aspect of ongoing upgrades to the hospital’s diagnostic imaging capabilities, supported by continuous fundraising efforts by the Erie Shores Health Foundation.

This week’s
online edition

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

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