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ETMC Breast Center extends mammography services to Carthage

The comprehensive diagnostic services of the ETMC Breast Center have been extended to Carthage, with the addition of all-new digital mammography technology at ETMC Carthage.

The Selenia™ digital mammography system from Hologic® incorporates revolutionary imaging technology that provides exceedingly sharp images in less time than traditional mammography methods. This technology, now available at ETMC Carthage, is the same technology used at the ETMC Breast Center in Tyler and on the ETMC Mobile Mammography Unit.

The standard in breast imaging
“Digital mammography is quickly becoming the standard in breast imaging,” said Michael Klouda, MD, medical director of the ETMC Breast Care Center. “Mammography is the best tool for early detection of breast abnormalities, giving patients a much better chance of survival and leading a long, productive life.”

Dr. Klouda will interpret all mammograms performed at ETMC Carthage. He is board-certified in diagnostic radiology and completed a fellowship in Breast Imaging at the University of Chicago Hospitals and served on the staff of the Lynn Sage Breast Center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Further help
To further help interpret mammograms, the R2 ImageChecker Computer-Aided Detection system will be used to scan images and mark areas of calcification, distortion and small masses, producing a video display for the radiologist that indicates potential abnormalities requiring further study.

If cancer is found, patients can immediately begin treatment through the ETMC system, which includes clinical review of cases at a weekly breast tumor conference conducted by a team of specialists. “The breast tumor conference is a team of about 20 doctors, pathologists, radiologists, surgeons, plastic surgeons, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists,” explained ETMC Cancer Institute Vice President Todd Sigmon. “They meet weekly and every single breast cancer that’s identified and detected through our program is discussed and presented for a comprehensive evaluation of what the patient’s best treatment options are going to be.”

Dr. Klouda further explained: “You’re going to receive the same benefit from our multidisciplinary cancer therapy that one might receive from going to, say, Dallas or Houston or one of the major university centers. That level of service, that quality of care, exists right here.”

In addition to the new technology now available, women will also appreciate the newly-updated waiting and changing areas at the ETMC Breast Center in Carthage. The exam area has been newly painted in a soothing, feminine color and is connected to a private dressing area dedicated for the use of mammography patients.

“It was important to us to create a new, updated environment to match our new technology,” said Selena Simmermann R.T. (R) (M), ETMC Carthage mammography supervisor. “We want our patients to be as comfortable as possible when they are here. Because women over 40 should receive a yearly mammogram, we try hard to make the experience a positive one for our patients.”

For patients, receiving a digital mammogram will be much the same as before -- both use X-rays to generate images of the breast. However, instead of using film to capture and record the image, a digital mammogram uses a special detector to capture and convert the X-ray energy into a digital image. It’s similar to the evolution between film-based photography and digital photography, in that film development is no longer necessary and the digital images are immediately available to the radiologist for evaluation.

The radiologist can view and manipulate the images on high-resolution computer monitors to enhance their clarity, reducing the likelihood of patients having to come back for additional images. They can also adjust brightness and contrast, and zoom in on specific areas to help detect small calcifications, masses and other changes that may be signs of early cancer.

The new technology represents a $270,000 investment in women’s healthcare at ETMC Carthage. The new digital mammography equipment was made possible in part due to a gift from the ETMC Foundation of $130,000, representing charitable support from donors who participate in ETMC's mission of care.

Call ETMC Healthfirst at 1-800-648-8141 and press “3” for more information or to schedule a mammogram in Carthage.

The ETMC Breast Center recommends that women have a baseline mammogram at age 35, and annual mammograms beginning at age 40. The cost of an annual mammogram is covered by Medicare and by most health insurance plans.
ETMC Carthage is part of the East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System’s network of hospitals throughout East Texas.

Other ETMC facilities include hospitals in Athens, Clarksville, Crockett, Fairfield, Gilmer, Jacksonville, Mount Vernon, Pittsburg, Quitman, Trinity and Tyler.
ETMC is a not-for-profit organization committed to improving the quality of life in communities throughout East Texas.