3D Mammography Provides Earlier Detection, Draws New Patients to Breast Care Center - April 16, 2013
Methodist Hospitals, Merrillville, Indiana
By all measures the Northwest Indiana Breast Care Center at Methodist Hospitals is a success. Opened in 2011, the Breast Care Center embodies Methodist Hospitals’ commitment to provide the most advanced technologies available for the early detection and treatment of breast cancer. Methodist Hospitals is a not-for-profit, community-based healthcare system with two full-service campuses located 14 miles apart in Gary and Merrillville, Indiana.
The Breast Care Center, on the Merrillville campus, was specially designed to deliver high-quality, personalized care in a relaxed, comfortable setting easily accessible to women in the community. Word of the new facility and its reputation for excellence spread quickly and just a short time after opening, the Center was attracting women from throughout northwest Indiana and seeing as many as six new patients daily.
Setting New Standards of Care
The cornerstone of the breast center’s imaging services is 3D mammography (breast tomosynthesis), which sets the benchmark for care in the region, and ensures the breast center will remain at the forefront of breast healthcare for many years to come. The hospital has three Hologic Selenia Dimensions 3D mammography systems and provides the technology at both campuses to ensure all patients receive 3D screening mammograms.
“We built our entire breast imaging concept around 3D imaging because we knew it was a landmark opportunity,” states Ian McFadden, President and CEO. “3D is one of the most innovative technologies we’ve seen in a long time and we were the first facility in Indiana, and one of the first fifty facilities in the country, to utilize this advanced breast imaging modality.”
Using 3D technology, the staff already is seeing an increase in the early detection of smaller cancers and a reduction in recalls for additional views. “We added 3D imaging because it improves patient care,” adds Dr. B.H. Barai, Medical Director of Methodist Hospitals’ Oncology Institute. “With 3D we can detect cancer earlier, which translates into a higher probability of cure.”
Finding Smaller Cancers Earlier
As part of its comprehensive breast imaging services, the hospital added fellowship-trained breast radiologist, Dr. Anastasia Siatras, to its staff of ten radiologists. Dr. Siatras believes 3D imaging allows radiologists to see more clearly, enabling them to find cancers they would not have found with 2D. “Tomosynthesis picks apart dense breast tissue far more accurately, allowing us to find cancers that may be obscured by dense overlying fibroglandular tissue. Because 3D mammography continuously scans the breast from both head to toe and from lateral to medial projections, the sensitivity for finding smaller lesions and detecting cancer at an earlier stage is significantly improved.”
Breast radiologist Dr. Kenneth Segel, is a strong believer in the 3D mammography technology. “The Hologic 3D system takes a series of 15 low-dose exposures in one acquisition, and reconstructs those images into thin, high-resolution layers,” explains Dr. Segel. “We can see breast tissue a layer at a time, which allows us to sort between things that are real and things that might look suspicious on a 2D image, but are actually just normal, overlapping structures. 3D also improves the sensitivity, enabling us to detect a higher proportion of things that are real. “I feel very fortunate to be working at a place where I have this technology. It’s just that good,” he adds.
Better Outcomes for Patients, Increased Confidence for Radiologists
The benefits of better detection are seen throughout the breast care center, reports Dr. Barai. At the hospital’s monthly breast cancer conferences, radiologists are presenting cases of tumors that are 3 and 4 millimeters in size. “They are more confident when they present a case with a suspicious lesion, which needs to be biopsied, and they are reporting fewer patients require additional images and follow-up.”
Adds Dr. Siatras, “From the radiologist’s standpoint, 3D mammography is an excellent tool. It is gratifying to find a really small cancer, knowing the patient can be cured, generally with minimal treatment. If 3D helps find even a few extra cancers a year, we have made a difference in people’s lives.”
Superior Patient Care Is Good Business
“Another unique aspect of our breast center is our focus on educating patients about their breast health,” explains Jennifer Sanders, Mammography Manager. The breast center includes a breast education room with interactive tools to teach patients breast self-examination techniques, and provides a wealth of information on topics ranging from breast pain to breast nodules. The breast center also offers a certified breast care nurse navigator to guide each patient through the diagnosis and treatment process. “We’re really trying to promote prevention and early detection.”
The message of earlier detection is making a difference for women in the region. The hospital’s marketing campaign educating women on the value of 3D mammography is bringing many women to the breast center who previously had mammograms elsewhere. “3D has been phenomenal for us,” states Sanders. “In the short time since we acquired 3D mammography, we have seen almost 350 new patients walk through our doors and we anticipate even more this year.” Referring physicians and other imaging facilities in the area also are referring women to Methodist Hospitals to receive the benefits of a 3D mammogram.
“3D imaging is about better patient care,” concludes McFadden. “It’s our commitment to change the way healthcare is delivered in northwest Indiana.”
Methodist Hospital is the first hospital in Northwest Indiana to be accredited by the American College of Surgeon’s National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers. The Hospital’s Comprehensive Cancer Program has been accredited by the American College of Surgeons since 1974. Only one in four hospitals that treat cancer receive this recognition.
“From the radiologist’s standpoint, 3D mammography is an excellent tool. It is gratifying to find a really small cancer, knowing the patient can be cured, generally with minimal treatment. If 3D helps find even a few extra cancers a year, we have made a difference in people’s lives.” – Radiologist Dr. Anastasia Siatras
“3D is one of the most innovative technologies we’ve seen in a long time and we were the first facility in Indiana, and one of the first fifty facilities in the country, to utilize this advanced breast imaging modality.” – Ian McFadden, President and CEO.
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Breast Program Physician Leadership Team
Left to right: Dr. Dennis Streeter, Surgeon, Dr. Geeta Kura, Medical Oncologist, Dr. Anastasia Siatras, Radiologist, Dr. Marion Trybula, Medical Oncologist, Dr. Juan Limjoko, Pathologist, Dr. Kenneth Segel, Radiologist, Dr. Susan Schneider, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, Dr. B.H. Barai, Medical Oncologist and Medical Director of Oncology Institute at Methodist Hospitals
Left to right: Dr. Anastasia Siatras, Radiologist, Dr. Kenneth Segel, Radiologist,
Jennifer Sanders, Mammography Manager, and Stacy Knox, Certified Breast Care Nurse Navigator