San Dimas Community Hospital is now offering digital mammography, an option that increases early detection of breast cancer and leads to better outcomes for patients and their families.
"For a community hospital, we are incredibly well equipped," says Dr. Bob Benson, head of the radiology group that practices at the hospital. "For screening, this is the best technology offered today."
Digital mammography uses a technology to capture the X-rays digitally, rather than on a film plate. Though the machine may look the same to an outside observer, it behaves just like an extraordinary digital camera, producing digital images are easily stored, retrieved and transferred from one physician to another.
When looking at images taken on the new machine versus previous methods, the difference in quality is clear even to a non-medical observer. The images are taken at significantly higher resolution, allowing for greater detail and the ability to "zoom in" to an area to look closer. The contrast is greater, and because the images are digital and not on film, the processing time is just a few seconds as the information goes to the computer.
Care and comfort
The technician is able to instantly see if the image comes out well, and take another if there's an issue – you never have to repeat because it's too light or too dark, to re-radiate, or to process another piece of film. This speed decreases the patient wait time significantly, making the whole process much more convenient. Additionally, due to the speed of the machine, patients spend less time in uncomfortable positions.
In addition to having better images to look at, the new digital system also features "computer aided detection." Though a radiologist goes through every image personally, he or she also can run a program to bring attention to potential problem areas, providing a screening safety net.
"Most of the time it's pointing out nothing," says Dr. Benson, but it does encourage doctors to double check certain areas.
"We feel it's important to be able to offer these advancements within our community," says hospital CEO Gregory Brentano. "We're able to give to women the services they need in a friendly, accessible, and local hospital, where care feels personal because it truly is. We provide women with mammograms quickly and easily within their community."
Regular screening is important in catching potential problems early, which is shown to have significant results in beating cancer. When caught early, breast cancer survival rates are high, and this technology helps to catch cancers at a much earlier stage.
The technicians in the room and assisting with the procedure are women, increasing the level of comfort for patients.
"San Dimas has always been committed to our patients, physicians and local community in providing the best in patient care," says Pete Domen, Radiology Director at the hospital. The hospital has a history of investing in the technology to improve patient care. "In late 2007 the installation of the Siemens 64 slice CT scanner, PACS and Computed Radiography system streamlined the patient experience while providing instant image results to the ordering physician."
For health information, or to schedule an appointment, call San Dimas Community Hospital at (909)599-6811.