Imaging Services Play Key Role in
Breast Health Care
By Rick Kidwell
Breast care is a high priority at
Cayuga Medical Center: the scope and quality of local imaging services reflects
a serious commitment to women’s health care. In developing our breast health
care program, Cayuga Medical Center addressed five major components to meet the
needs of area women.
These components are:
state-of-the-art technology; comprehensive services; certification; compassionate, skilled staff and a welcoming environment; and
easy access to services. We understand that mammograms make women anxious and
that waiting for exam results is stressful. We know that safety, comfort, and
leading-edge technology are patient-care essentials. And we know that women
want individualized, personal care.
Studies have shown that for the
majority of women, digital mammography is better than standard film
mammography. Cayuga Medical Center has installed two new, full-field,
GE Essential Digital Mammography units for all screening and diagnostic
mammography at the medical center and at Commons Imaging at Convenient Care at
Cortland. Two additional new digital mammography units will be in operation by
the end of October at Convenient Care at Ithaca, for a total of four new
digital mammography units. In the testing of these digital mammography units
during installation it was confirmed that they use a 20-30 percent lower dose
of radiation than any other systems in the region.
Immediate test results
Mammography results are available
immediately: every mammography patient receives the results before leaving her
appointment. A board-certified radiologist is on site at each of the three
locations and present for all mammograms. They are read immediately after they
are performed and the radiologist is available and willing to talk to all women
who prefer a direct conversation regarding their results. When additional views
or testing is required, such as ultrasound, these exams are performed during
the same appointment.
In addition to digital mammography
for screening and diagnosis, three new IU-22 Philips Ultrasound Units are in
use at the medical center for diagnostic breast ultrasound. When abnormalities
are discovered, image-guided needle biopsies can be performed any one of three
ways, using digital mammography, digital ultrasound, or MRI, depending on the
radiologist’s recommendations. Typically our radiologists are able to perform
biopsies within a few days of finding a mammography abnormality. Our
radiologists contact their patients directly within 48 hours with the results.
Certified and compassionate staff
Breast health care providers at
Cayuga Medical Center are expert, empathetic professionals who specialize in
breast care and who are genuinely concerned about the experience of each and
every one of their patients. Breast imaging exams are performed only by
radiologic technologists who are women and who are certified in mammography and
ultrasound. Our radiologists are all board certified and are available to talk
with patients who have questions or concerns about their mammogram or
All Cayuga Medical Center breast
care facilities are accredited by the America College of Radiology. For women
facing a cancer diagnosis, the Cancer Care Program at Cayuga Medical Center is
certified by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer.
To ease patient access to services,
imaging breast care is offered by the medical center at three different
locations in Tompkins and Cortland counties and includes screening, diagnosis,
and interventional procedures. Women receive these services in separate and
discreet mammography suites designed for privacy and comfort.
Kidwell is the director of Imaging Services for Cayuga Medical Center.