With their brand-new Selenia Dimensions digital breast tomosynthesis machine, Beebe Healthcare takes breast-cancer screening and diagnosis to new heights
Whether it’s treatment or technology, Beebe Healthcare routinely finds itself at the forefront of medical care in the region. Its lauded Breast Health Program, for example, is the only one in Delaware to be accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), a program administered by the American College of Surgeons. It is especially fitting, then, that as of October — National Breast Cancer Awareness Month — Beebe Healthcare began scheduling patients for the latest advance in comprehensive breast care, 3D mammography.
“Beebe Healthcare is proud to be able to offer one of the most comprehensive breast cancer programs in the state,” said Judith Ramirez, EdD, manager of Population Health Oncology. In that role, Dr. Ramirez also oversees the Beebe Breast Health Program. “We are the first in Sussex County to have this 3D mammographic technology, which offers our patients a solid basis for increased confidence that even early-stage breast cancers will be detected.”
Referred to clinically as digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT), this new technology truly takes mammographic screening and diagnosis to the next level. Beebe’s state-of-the-art Selenia Dimensions breast tomosynthesis machine by Hologic uses a rotating arm that swings over the patient’s breast to produce a series of images in 1mm layers. Ultimately, this low-dose scan offers a three-dimensional view of breast tissue that dramatically improves the radiologist’s ability to detect abnormalities, especially within dense breast tissue, which has been shown to have an increased susceptibility to cancer. Equally effective for women who have an increased cancer risk as determined by family history or the results of a BRCA gene test, this new technology substantially reduces the likelihood of false negatives and false positives, which occur periodically when multiple folds of breast tissue are examined in a 2D format. This not only spares women unnecessary biopsies, but also the grueling anxiety that tends to accompany them.
“The easiest way to think about it is that conventional two-dimensional mammography looks at breast tissue the way we look at the covers of a book,” said Dan Mapes, MPA, RT(N), CRA, director of diagnostic imaging at Beebe, “but this three-dimensional mammography looks at breast tissue the way we look at the individual pages of a book, which, of course, yields much more information and therefore a much greater understanding of the whole.”
Mapes went on to say that Beebe’s Selenia Dimensions breast tomosynthesis machine — which Beebe administrators had selected specifically for its demonstrated accuracy — boasts a 27 percent improvement in breast cancer detection and a 40 percent improvement for invasive cancer detection when compared with 2D mammography alone. The reduction in call-backs for additional views, meanwhile, is an impressive 20 to 40 percent.
“This exam takes less than 10 minutes, and the patient will receive the results of a diagnostic examination that same day, sometimes as soon as a half-hour later, depending upon whether additional tests, such as ultrasound, are needed,” stated Dr. Ellen Bahtiarian, one of Beebe Heathcare’s radiologists. “Additionally, every on-staff radiologist has gone through specialized training on how to accurately read the digital breast tomosynthesis images.”
“That applies to the staff mammographers, as well,” added Mapes, “each of whom has received detail-specific training on how to administer the 3D mammography.”
Kelly Griffin, Beebe’s director of marketing, added that for routine screenings, patients will be notified by mail in two or three days but that referring physicians often contact their patients with the results in advance of that.
Having screened more than 17,000 breast-care patients, Beebe Healthcare has been certified as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology. Its Selenia Dimensions breast tomosynthesis machine is currently available at their Rehoboth Beach location, on Rte. 24, with a second tomosynthesis machine expected to be deployed in early 2015.
In addition to their breast-care services, Beebe also offers screenings for prostate, cervical, endometrial (uterine) and colon/rectal cancers, as well as screenings for a wide variety of other health issues. They encourage everyone to visit their website for more information about their roster of patient-care services and screening recommendations.
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