A Better Look
New 3D mammography strengthens women’s health services at Mary Greeley.
By Stephanie Marsau
Sheri Severseike knew that every time she had a mammogram, she faced a strong possibility of having to undergo additional imaging. A new development in how mammograms are done at Mary Greeley Medical Center has changed that.
Seversike, who works as a dosimetrist in the William R. Bliss Cancer Center, has dense breast tissue. That tissue, combined with some existing cysts and calcifications, makes her mammograms harder to read. “In the past, I’ve been called back to have additional imaging done to magnify the suspicious areas,” she says.
Mary Greeley is now offering patients 3D mammography, which is sometimes referred to as tomosynthesis. When a mammogram is done this way, it allows radiologists to look at the breast in slices compared to a two-dimensional picture. This new service helped the Bliss Cancer Center, a service of Mary Greeley and McFarland Clinic, recently receive designation as a Breast Cancer Center.
An Accredited Breast Center
The William R. Bliss Cancer Center is accredited by National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), which recognizes Bliss Cancer Center’s commitment to offer patients every significant advantage in the fight against breast cancer. NAPBC designation indicates that the Bliss Cancer Center has proven proficiency in leadership, clinical management, research, community outreach, education and quality improvement. It also indicates that that patient outcomes meet or exceed national benchmarks. Receiving care at a NAPBC-accredited center ensures that the patient will have access to:
- Comprehensive care, including a full range of state-of-the-art services
- A multidisciplinary team approach to coordinate the best treatment options
- Information about ongoing clinical trials and new treatment options
- Quality breast care close to home
Learn more about the NAPBC designation.
“There’s a huge benefit to 3D mammography for everyone, but especially those with dense breast tissue,” said Scott Cue, director of Radiology at Mary Greeley Medical Center. “Masses can hide within that dense breast tissue. With 3D mammography we can look
at the images of the breast layer by layer and get a much better look at things that may have been obstructed in a standard 2D mammogram.”
No Call Back
Seversike was due for a mammogram, but purposely waited until the end of June until Mary Greeley was 3D capable. She then offered to be a test subject of sorts to help train the department on how to use the new machine. “The definition and the detail on the images are incredible,” she recalls. “The positioning is still the same, but because of the ability to digitally enhance one area, people may not need to return for follow up MRIs or ultrasounds.”
Dr. Grant Goldsberry, McFarland Clinic radiologist, echoed Severseike. “3D mammography is a significant technological advance for breast imaging. This technology allows us to reduce the number of women returning for additional imaging and greatly improves our ability to detect cancer earlier. This is especially true for those with dense breast tissue.”
Not all insurance companies currently cover 3D mammograms, but Cue made the decision that everyone who comes in to have a mammogram will have the 3D procedure, despite the fact the new technology is also 2D capable. “We believe that everyone should be provided the best possible care and this machine does that,” he says. “We don’t want there to be a difference in the care you receive based on if you choose to have your mammogram done at Mary Greeley or at McFarland Clinic. We’re able to do this because our mammography machines are the same brand so the radiologists can read the images the same way, regardless of where the mammogram is done.”
Mammograms at Mary Greeley are
scheduled for 45 minutes. The first part
of the appointment takes place in a
spacious sitting area where a
certified technologist takes the time to talk
to you and go through your history.
There’s more to a mammography appointment though than the physical act of having the mammogram done. “At Mary Greeley, we schedule 45-minute time slots with a certified technologist because we want to make sure we spend plenty of time with you,” explains Cue. “We sit down with you and go through a breast cancer risk assessment. We go over a detailed history because while it’s great to have technology, it’s even better to have a detailed history. We take what we do very seriously and now we can give our patients the best imaging available.”
The certified technologists in the department, Laurie Geis, RT(R) M, Shelby Ades RT(R) M and Kara Walstrom, RT(R) M went through additional training for the new device, but it’s their bedside manner that resounds with patients. “They are so very conscientious when it comes to your comfort and caring for you,” says Severseike. “Shelby particularly has been doing this for many, many years and you just know that with her, you’re in great hands.
“At the end of the day, it truly is all about the patient,” remarks Cue. “The hospital’s tagline is ‘doing what’s right,’ so we felt like we need to be doing 3D mammography because it’s the right thing to do.”
For more information on 3D mammography and the many other imaging services Mary Greeley provides, please call 515-239-2131.