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News and Featured Stories from St. Vincent's Medical Center
Published: 09/09/2009

The SWIM's New Digital Mammography

mobile mammoBRIDGEPORT, CT September 9, 2009— The SWIM Women's Imaging Center at St. Vincent's Medical Center has just introduced its newest "partner" in its quest to bring the benefits of regular breast-cancer screening to more residents of Connecticut.

A sleek, spacious, 38 foot-long vehicle outfitted with a waiting area and two changing rooms, St. Vincent's new mobile mammography coach offers an attractive interior that provides the privacy that women want along with the state-of-the-art digital technology they need.  St. Vincent's mobile mammography program is only the second in the state to offer full-field digital technology, enhancing detection, especially in dense breast tissue, and allowing for an almost immediate review by a radiology technician.  St. Vincent's mobile mammography is the only program in the state that offers expanded paddles, which require less angles of images, meaning women will experience less radiation exposure, enhanced comfort and quicker exams.

"Our ongoing mobile mammography program has been very successful," said Rachel Giliotti, BS, RT (R)(T), administrative director of imaging services at St. Vincent's. "But the new coach's advanced equipment has brought us from analog to digital. We can perform screenings more quickly and efficiently, while providing exceptional patient comfort."

At the heart of the new coach is the Senographe Essential Mammography System, which offers swift and optimal image capturing and faster time between exposures. There is no film processing required, allowing almost immediate review by the technologist. According to St. Vincent's SWIM Women's Imaging Center Director Kelly Harkins, MD, patients will notice the difference. "The image quality on dense breasts is also improved with this system," Dr. Harkins said. "And the off-centered paddle ensures greater comfort when imaging small breasts."

The system features a highly reliable detector and the ability to optimally scan any type of breasts at low dose. "It reduces the potential for having to re-do a scan," Dr. Harkins noted. "And in general, the overall exam time is about 40 percent less. Our patients really appreciate that."

"There isn't another unit out there that compares to what we can offer our patients," added Giliotti. "This includes both the insured and uninsured patients, and is the truest form of quality community outreach."

The mobile unit and digital mammography equipment will travel and screen patients throughout the state, typically screening at three different public locations per month in addition to the corporate screenings.

Mammograms are free for those who do not have health insurance, have financial limitations and qualify for assistance. For those with insurance, mammograms are low-cost. Appointments are necessary and a physician order and insurance card must be brought to the appointment.

Major funding for the new mobile mammography unit has been provided by the St. Vincent's SWIM Across the Sound Breast Cancer Luncheon and the Connecticut Challenge, a non-competitive bike ride that raises funds for cancer survivors. The CT Challenge and the SWIM have partnered to create the second cancer survivorship program in the state and will use the mobile coach as a resource center for survivor education and information distribution. The SWIM's breast cancer screening services are also supported by grants from the Connecticut Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, The Breast Cancer Alliance, and the Near and Far Aid Association.

The American Cancer Society recommends that women age 40 and over receive an annual mammogram in addition to performing monthly breast self-exams and obtaining an annual clinical breast exam by a healthcare professional. To schedule an appointment or to find out when the mobile mammography unit will be in your area, call St. Vincent's SWIM Women's Imaging Center at (203) 576-5500. To schedule a screening site for your office, community center, school or church, call the Mobile Mammography Coordinator at (203) 576-5501. You may also see the current schedule of site visits by clicking here.

For more information on the latest minimally invasive surgery to correct A Fib or other cardiac problems, please contact the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at St. Vincent’s Medical

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