Taking charge of her health is one of the smartest things a woman can do for herself.  When the need for imaging services arises, Comanche County Memorial Hospital is the best choice in Southwest Oklahoma. Women’s Imaging Services offers women the latest in technological advances including digital mammography services, the ABBI Breast Biopsy System and bone densitometry.

The chance of a woman having invasive breast cancer some time during her life is about 1 in 8.  With odds like that, you want the best screening tool available to find, diagnose, and treat breast cancer for you or your loved one. CCMH is proud to announce the addition of digital mammography to its expanding state-of-the-art technologies available to diagnose and treat disease.

What is a Mammogram

A mammogram is an x-ray that gives a picture of the internal structure of the breast. There are two types of mammography: Screening and Diagnostic. Screening mammography is performed on asymptomatic women to check for undetected tumors. Diagnostic mammography is used to follow up on breast abnormalities detected during self exam or check up, further evaluation following abnormal screening mammogram and for women with breast implants.

What to Expect During Your Mammogram

First, you will be asked to undress from the waist up. A female Radiologic Technologist certified by the American Registry of Radiological Technologists and specializing in mammography will perform the procedure. The technologist will then place your breast between two plates and compress them to take the x-ray. With your comfort in mind, we use Mammo Pads, single use foam cushions, which offer a warmer and softer barrier between the surfaces and edges of the mammography device. The experience is more comfortable, without impacting the clarity of the mammogram. Once the procedure is completed the exam is then sent through the iCAD computer-aided detection to provide a secondary computer-aided interpretation of any areas of concern within the breast. A board certified radiologist will interpret your exam and a report will be sent to your physician, and a patient result letter will be sent to you.

Digital mammography not widely available, but offered at CCMH

The Fujifilm Medical Systems recently installed the FCRm full field digital mammography system at Comanche County Memorial Hospital. Digital mammograms are now performed on a daily basis, right here in Southwest Oklahoma.

Only 8 percent of mammography units in the United States are digital. Digital mammography is a relatively new technology and there are currently a small number of facilities with digital units. A recent study of about 50,000 women found that digital mammograms were actually better than film mammograms in picking up cancers in certain groups of women, including women with particularly dense breasts and women younger than 50. Researchers aren’t sure why digital is more accurate for these women, but they think it’s because digital photos can be manipulated to get a better view.

Why mammography?

Right now, the mammogram is the first line of defense against breast cancer. This two-dimensional X-ray of the breast is a highly effective tool in detecting breast cancer, long before a lump may be felt.  Today, doctors in state-of-the-art facilities are reading mammograms off computers – not film. They say it’s more efficient and sometimes more effective than film.

When it comes to digital mammography, think about your camera. The digital photo isn’t a lot better than the film version, but its resolution may be a bit more crisp. The benefit of digital is that you can tinker with it until you get the best image possible. So, too, with digital mammography.

How Does Digital Mammography Differ From Standard Mammography?

In standard mammography, images are recorded on film using an x-ray cassette. The film is viewed by the radiologist using a “light box” and then stored in a jacket in the facility’s archives. With digital mammography, the breast image is captured using a special electronic x-ray detector, which converts the image into a digital picture for review on a computer monitor. The digital mammogram is then stored on a computer. With digital mammography, the magnification, orientation, brightness, and contrast of the image may be altered after the exam is completed to help the radiologist more clearly see certain areas.

Studies have shown that digital mammography may provide additional benefits, such as lower radiation doses and higher sensitivity to abnormalities. Other data from German researchers suggest that the radiation dose can be reduced by up to 50% with digital mammography and still detect breast cancer as well as the standard radiation dose of film mammography.

It is suspected that digital mammography is superior in some women because it allows radiologists to heighten the contrast between dense tissue and cancerous cells, which both appear to be white on a film mammogram.

Conventional film mammography requires several minutes to develop the film while digital mammography provides the image on the computer monitor in less than a minute after the exposure/data acquisition. Thus, digital mammography provides a shorter exam for the woman. Digital mammography can also be manipulated to correct for under or over exposure after the exam is completed, eliminating the need for some women to undergo repeat mammograms before leaving the facility.

What are the benefits of Digital Mammograms?

  • Improved contrast between dense and non-dense breast tissue
  • Faster image acquisition (less than a minute)
  • Shorter exam time (approximately half that of film-based mammography)
  • Easier image storage
  • Physician manipulation of breast images for more accurate detection of breast cancer
  • Ability to correct under or over-exposure of films without having to repeat mammograms

How do I make an appointment?

To schedule a screening mammogram, please call Central Scheduling at 580.250.5800.  If you need a diagnostic mammogram please have your physician set up your appointment.  For added convenience your physician can schedule your bone density screening and mammogram back-to-back on the same day.  An order from your physician will be needed for the diagnostic mammogram and bone density test.

The Women’s Imaging facility at CCMH is certified by the American College of Radiology, the Mammography Quality Standards Act, is licensed by the Oklahoma Department of Public Health and is a Softer Mammogram provider.