Innovative Digital Breast Imaging Helps Improve Cancer Diagnoses
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Adopting new breast imaging technologies for earlier cancer detection.
By Dr. Stamatia Destounis, MD FACR, Elizabeth Wende Breast Clinic.
Editor’s note: for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Everything Rad asked EWBC physician, Dr. Stamatia V. Destounis, MD, FACR, to share her insights on the current and future role of breast imaging technology.
Our practice is committed to using the latest FDA approved technology for breast imaging. Our commitment to advancements in breast cancer detection has led us to participate in a wide range of clinical research on new and innovative products.
Historically, Elizabeth Wende Breast Care (EWBC) has been an early adopter of new technology. Specifically, we were the first facility to bring stereotactic needle biopsy to the Rochester NY area in the early 1990s. This gave our patients the benefit of a less invasive needle biopsy so they would not have to undergo unnecessary surgical biopsies to evaluate a finding in the breast.
In addition, EWBC utilized computer aided detection and digital mammography to read mammograms on workstations and do away with film altogether. Digital mammography gave us the ability to manipulate images on the workstation and detect tiny treatable breast cancers. In the late 90s and early 2000s, we participated in research on the two technologies, contributing to the global shift from film mammography to digital imaging. These technological advancements have allowed us to detect cancers earlier when treatment is most effective.
Latest breast imaging technology elevates standard of care
In 2009, we conducted research with digital breast tomosynthesis and then transitioned to it when the FDA approved the technology in 2011. Today it is recognized as the best available technique for mammography to identify the smallest cancers and reduce false call backs – and it is the standard of care at EWBC.
We also utilize the latest in breast MRI and, once again, we were a pioneer in bringing this to our area in 2002. We also insisted on being able to perform MRI biopsies for findings seen only on MRIs. This capability reduced the amount of stress and anxiety that patients experience when waiting for the result of a finding.
Our patients are at the center of all we do, and we continue to advocate for our patients to receive the best possible care. With this philosophy in mind, we understood early on the importance of capturing more impactful health information. Each patient is evaluated and, where appropriate, educated on their risk of breast cancer and the benefits of genetic testing. These findings are clearly communicated with health care providers, in hopes of a seamless continuum of care.
Radiologist-patient communication is key
Today, and even more so in the future, we see radiologists and other specialists having more communication with their patients. Our advice to radiologists who want to provide a more patient-centric atmosphere in their facilities is to understand thatpatients want to know their radiologist. Patients also want to ask questions pertinent to their individual circumstance and be educated in the process. They want to be more involved in decisions affecting their care. This means that radiologists need more soft skills so they can communicate with the patient.
I also recommend providing a more comfortable environment for patients, and finding ways to enhance their experience. Consider providing educational materials, personalized space, and inviting waiting rooms. Educated and courteous staff and patient navigators or advocates also add to a patient-centric experience.
Together, kind well-informed physicians along with the latest technology can provide optimal patient-centered care.
Read More on Everything Rad:
- Patient-Centered Care and the Radiologist
- Building Trust Between the Patient and Radiographer
- Dr. Destounis on Favoring Annual Mammograms with No Family History
- Radiologists Most Qualified to Evaluate Breast Health: An Interview with Dr. Wende Young, founder of Elizabeth Wende Breast Clinic
#breastimaging #breastcancer #breastcancerawareness