Women don’t have to leave Seward for high quality mammograms

BreastimageJodiizykowski (1)

SEWARD, Alaska -

By HEIDI ZEMACH for SCN -

Twenty-five women took advantage of the opportunity to have digital screening mammograms provided locally Friday December 20th when Providence Imaging center’s Mobile medical coach pulled up to the parking lot at Seward Providence Health & Services’ Center. Having these important screenings done locally can save a day-long trip to Anchorage, and the high gas costs of traveling there, said a customer, as radiology technologist Jodi Izykowski nodded in agreement. The state-of-the art digital equipment used in the mobile unit, and the quality of images clients receive from them is exactly the same as what they would receive at the imaging center in Anchorage, she added.

The appointments only take about 15 minutes, and the process is generally painless or only a little uncomfortable, but clients are rewarded by being able to view the images immediately after they’ve been taken with the radiology tech who took them. The radiology tech can manipulate the images on the computer screen, changing magnification levels, contrast and brightness to improve the visibility of the features. If re-positioning is needed, new x-rays can be retaken immediately.

“They’re so crisp, there’s a big difference,” commented a client when asked to compare the digital images to the outdated film-mammography she used to receive from Seward Providence. Digital mammography has replaced traditional film mammography, for the most part across the U.S.

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Providence Imaging Center's mobile digital mammography screening truck parks at Seward Providence Medical & Care Center Friday, Dec 20th. It served 25 local clients. Heidi Zemach photo.

Providence Imaging Center’s mobile digital mammography screening truck parks at Seward Providence Medical & Care Center Friday, Dec 20th. It served 25 local clients. Heidi Zemach photo.

Mammograms are low dose x-rays of the breast that can detect many breast changes that are too small or too deep to feel by hand. They are recommended along with regular breast self-exams, and clinical breast exams.

The images, (two views per breast) are reviewed and interpreted by radiologists certified by the American Board of Radiology, and a report of the results is sent to one’s own health-care provider.

Diagnostic mammography—the kind done for women who already have discovered certain troublesome symptoms, those who have had a personal history of breast cancer, or who have received a biopsy or abnormal mammogram, are only done in Anchorage, however.

The number of women getting digital mammography screenings was on the high side this month compared to the average 15-20 appointments per trip,  but the van had to cancel its last scheduled trip to Seward due to poor weather conditions, Izykowski said.

For more information www.provimaging.com

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