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Breast Health Care at Cayuga Medical Center

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.


State-of-the-art technology


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.


Comprehensive services


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 ultrasound.


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.


Easy access


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.


Rick Kidwell is the director of Imaging Services for Cayuga Medical Center.



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