It’s not just the availability of 3D mammography that attracts patients; it’s also the ability to offer diagnostic follow-ups and breast ultrasound at The University of Kansas Health System Pawnee Valley Campus.
Shelly Stanton, director of Imagining at the hospital, shared information about all these services in observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.
“The 3D mammogram is state-of-the-art technology but our follow-up services are also important,” Stanton said. “For example, if an abnormality is detected, and a diagnostic mammogram and/or ultrasound are needed, we can accommodate you right here at Pawnee Valley Campus.”
Stanton and her colleagues are aware that an abnormality “can cause anxiety. But we can help ease that anxiety because the same technologist who performed your mammogram is here during the follow-up with answers to your questions.”
In addition, Stanton noted, if a patient needs a diagnostic mammogram, the radiologist is consulted in real time via telephone and reviews the diagnostic images with the technologist. The radiologist can determine if further imaging is needed while the patient is still at the hospital.
3D mammography became available at Pawnee Valley Campus almost a year ago, as a result of a capital campaign spearheaded by “our awesome Pawnee Valley Community Hospital Foundation and the support of this great community,” Stanton said.
This combined effort resulted in technology that takes approximately 300-600 image slices of tissue in the same amount of time as the 2D, which takes only one image for each view.
The increased volume minimizes the overlapping of breast tissue, which can either hide or mimic cancer. “Having multiple image slices results in fewer false alarms and greatly improves the screening’s accuracy, especially in patients with dense breast tissue,” Stanton said, noting mammography takes only 10 to 15 minutes.
The new technology has been popular at the hospital since it became available but COVID-19 has made “some people leery of getting routine testing,” Stanton acknowledged. “Patients can be assured our hospital is following all precautions to ensure safety.
“Yearly mammograms can detect changes while they are small,” she added. “Not every abnormality is cancer, but if it is, early detection is crucial. An early diagnosis can prevent growth and the spread to other parts of the body. Annual screenings help ensure the earliest diagnoses with the most treatment options.”
Stanton noted that central Kansans are fortunate to have Pawnee Valley Campus and its many services close at hand.
“We are fortunate to have a Critical Access Hospital with this advanced level of imaging equipment,” Stanton commented. “Our administrators and board of directors want to provide the very best healthcare services to our local community.
“We are proud that we don’t compromise on quality because we are a smaller facility. We know many of our patients and take the time to reassure them. Larger facilities may not be able to do this.”