St. Anthony’s enhances Women’s Wellness and Breast Care Services: Leading the way in early detection and screenings for breast cancer
(10/08) In the arena of women’s wellness, St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital has historically been in the forefront with state-of-the-art equipment and awareness programs to address conditions like breast cancer. St. Anthony’s has been offering mammograms for decades and as the technology improved, the hospital has invested in the latest technology for their patients.
Some of the steps that St. Anthony’s has taken advancing women’s wellness include:
Offering the latest in breast cancer detection and treatment
In 2003, the hospital acquired computer-aided mammography (CAD) technology for the hospital’s Diagnostic Services department. Acquired through the Friends of St. Anthony’s, this technology acts as an “image checker” and serves the purpose of analyzing dots and calcifications on a mammogram film, and extrapolating through a computer program what the likelihood is that the area is a cancer. This piece of equipment is very important in the detection of early cancers which are often very small and difficult for the human eye alone to detect.
In addition to mammography, a variety of other breast care services provided include Breast MRI, Ultrasound, Nuclear Medicine Diagnostic Breast Imaging and Nuclear Medicine Sentinel Node Mapping. St. Anthony’s also offers Stereotactic Breast Biopsy which is an alternative to open or surgical breast biopsy.
Collaborating with the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP)
In partnership with the IBCCP, St. Anthony’s has invested over $150,000 to promote early detection and encourage all women to have mammograms. The IBCCP offers free mammograms, breast exams, pelvic exams and pap tests to uninsured women over the age of 40.
Launching the Women’s Wellness and Breast Care Services initiative
The mission of this initiative is to provide care to women with an emphasis on breast care, from prevention, screening, and diagnosis to treatment and follow-up care in a consistent, compassionate and timely manner. As part of this initiative, St. Anthony’s named Ruben Boyajian, M.D., Medical Director of Women’s Wellness and Breast Care Services. His expertise in the area of advanced breast care provides essential leadership and direction for this initiative.
A large part of the Breast Care Services initiative is the implementation of a process to enhance the woman’s experience. The goal of the new process is to seamlessly move the patient from detection of breast cancer to diagnosis within five working days. This process eases the number of “sleepless nights” that a woman previously experienced while waiting for results of the mammography screening or instructions addressing the next steps in breast cancer treatment.
Providing the only “true” digital mammography to the area
In October, St. Anthony’s received the very latest in breast cancer early detection by acquiring digital mammography technology. The digital mammography technology at St. Anthony’s is the most accurate and state-of-the-art equipment in Effingham County.
“True” digital mammography is able to detect lesions at earlier stages than traditional film mammography and offers more flexibility since the image can be manipulated by the radiologist so that a variety of views are available to assist in making a diagnosis. In addition, digital mammography requires fewer patient call-backs because the digital image of the breast is sent directly to a computer monitor so it can be reviewed immediately by the radiologist. If another image is needed, it can be taken immediately rather than sending the patient home and asking them to return for a second view.
St. Anthony’s continues to lead the way in early detection and screenings for breast cancer. The women of Effingham and the surrounding region can count on St. Anthony’s to ensure the best care for them and their families.
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