Going Pink for an Important Cause

Find out how 5 minutes might save your life!

by Kristy Warren – October 20, 2017

Each year, more than 200,000 women in the US get breast cancer and over 40,000 women die from the disease.
To raise awareness of the importance of breast health screenings, UPMC Susquehanna launched a series of activities and events this October designed to empower women with knowledge and tools to protect their health.
This year, Soldiers + Sailors Memorial Hospital (SSMH) and the employees inside went pink, the official cause color. In addition to the facility being lit up pink throughout October, staff and volunteers donned pink to support breast cancer awareness for a special Pink Out Day. Activities included discount and walk-in screenings, Q&As with radiology technicians, education on breast health to encourage women to get screened at the appropriate times and learn their risks, family history and how to reduce controllable risk factors, pink treats, themed giveaways and donations.
Fear of finding something or the exam itself can put women off from regular self-exams or scheduling their mammogram, but early detection and establishing normal baselines are key in maintaining breast health.
Join radiologist Dr. Enrico Doganiero, lead mammographer Carissa Lewis and Imaging Manager Chad Tennis as they share when and how to screen and what to expect from your exam as well as the introduction of 3D mammography at SSMH later this year.

What’s breast density?
When talking about breast cancer screenings, you may have heard the term “breast density.” Breast density is determined by the radiologist who reads your mammogram. Breasts are made up of fibrous, glandular and fatty tissue, and breasts are considered dense when there is lots of fibrous or glandular tissue but not much fatty tissue. Extremely dense breast tissue can make it more difficult to spot cancer on mammograms as dense tissue appears white like benign and cancerous lumps. As a result, radiologists have evaluated how to achieve the most accurate imaging for women with dense breasts.

How does 3D mammography work?

The use of 3D mammography (tomosynthesis) can enhance early detection and treatment of breast cancer, particularly in women with dense breast tissue. This recent advancement in technology creates a clearer view of dense breast tissue, which allows doctors to pinpoint size, shape and location of abnormalities more effectively. By rotating around the breast, it captures digital images at different angles that are then compiled into a 3D image. Images captured by 3D mammography can then be analyzed in millimeter layers, increasing visibility of small tumors.

This style of imaging can also reduce the call-back rate for additional testing, false-positive results and invasive testing due to its advancement in detection. This technology works to put all women on the same playing field by retaining the preciseness of a mammogram exam in all types of breast tissue.

Is 3D right for me?

Each patient is unique, so the right imaging tool varies by situation. For many women, 2D mammography is still the standard. For others, a combination of mammogram and ultrasound or MRI is best. Soldiers + Sailors Memorial Hospital in Wellsboro will begin offering 3D mammography later this year in addition to its existing traditional 2D mammography and ultrasound to provide an even more robust set of diagnostic tools in determining breast health.

If you have been told you have dense breasts, talk with your primary care provider about your family history, risk factors and any questions or concerns; you can request a referral for a 3D mammogram. Your radiologist will ultimately determine which imaging tools are most appropriate for you based on your breast density, family history, and any recent suspicious findings or biopsies.

Early Detection Counts

Early detection gives patients the best possible advantage in breast cancer treatment. Women 40 years of age and older are encouraged to have an annual mammogram. Women of all ages should be proactive in completing self-exams to establish a healthy baseline for what’s normal for you and to monitor subtle changes that may occur between wellness visits or breast screenings.

For more information on 3D Mammography, breast health, or Soldiers + Sailors Memorial Hospital, call 570-723-7764 or visit UPMCSusquehanna.org/Breast.

Quilt made by former mammographer at Soldiers and Sailors, Mary Jo Robinson

Idea/Concept: Kristy Warren
Videography: Andrew Moore
Video Editing: Andrew Moore
Writing: Kristy Warren
Anchor: Sara Vogt
Correspondent: Amiee Jones

Produced by Vogt Media
Funded by UPMC Susquehanna

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