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Digital mammography offered in Perham

Perham Memorial Hospital has recently completed the transition to digital imaging with the installation of full field digital mammography.

Although patients won't notice a dramatic difference with the new technology, the Radiologic Technologists acquiring the images will notice a great improvement with the process. "It is the most current technology available for mammography," explains Darla Medeck-Johnson, Director of Radiology at Perham Memorial Hospital and Home.

PMHH first installed the new Hologic digital mammography equipment in the beginning of August. After a training week, the new technology was available to patients for the first time on August 21.

As for the patient experience, Medeck-Johnson says the imaging process and the use of compression are the same. However, instead of using film, the new full field digital mammography unit produces a digital image that the radiologist can interpret on a computer.

"The benefit of digital mammography over film-screen is that the digital imaging platform provides an evenly penetrated image for the radiologist to interpret, most apparent in patients with dense breast tissue," explains Medeck-Johnson. She says this is especially beneficial for younger women. Higher image quality translates into better detection for women of all ages.

Another benefit of digital mammography is that it allows the technologists to remain in the room with patients throughout the imaging process. Previously, the technologists needed to leave the room to process and check the films.

With the numerous advantages of going digital, Medeck-Johnson says most of our nation's hospitals are moving to an all digital approach. PMHH's transition to digital mammography couldn't have come at a more appropriate time, with October recognized as breast cancer awareness month.

"Patient response has been very positive," reports Medeck-Johnson. "They've heard a lot about it [digital mammography] and they're glad we have it."

Perham Memorial Hospital is accredited with the American College of Radiology.

About National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The first NBCAM program took place in October 1985 as a week-long event to fill the information void in public communication about breast cancer. The founding members of the Board of Sponsors, the American Academy of Family Physicians, AstraZeneca Healthcare Foundation and CancerCare, Inc., distributed brochures, spoke to news reporters, and testified before a U.S. Congressional committee about the crucial need for widespread access to mammography.

Today the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) organization is comprised of several national public service organizations, professional medical associations, and government agencies working in partnership to build breast cancer awareness, share information and provide access to screening services.

October is designated as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, however, at NBCAM, breast cancer awareness and education is a year-round mission.