Provo, Utah (PressExposure) March 02, 2012 -- The only General Electric digital mammography machine in Utah is now installed and operational at the newly constructed Riverwoods Imaging Center.
It has the lowest radiation dosage of any system in the state, Radiologist Dr. Wendell Gibby said. This state-of-the-art system is now taking appointments for both screening and diagnostic mammography.
Radiologist Brent Chandler will read the scans, imaging center owner Gibby said. Chandler served as the Director of Mammography at Utah Valley Regional Hospital for more than 30 years.
The Riverwoods Imaging Center moved to its new location on University Avenue, just one mile north of BYU stadium last year, but the new mammography-imaging machine couldn't be installed until the Federal Drug Administration approved it. General Electric manufactures the machine and its research points to improved diagnostic accuracy over traditional film mammography for women under age 50.
Other international studies show improved diagnostic accuracy regardless of age or breast density over the film counterpart while radiation with digital mammography is 30 percent lower, GE reports.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among American women, yet Utah holds the dubious title as the second lowest state in the nation for women to have the annual screening done, said LeeAnn Peters, mission manager for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, a national cancer fighting organization with a branch in Salt Lake City.
One in every seven women contract the disease nationally so regular screening over age 40 is recommended. However, Utah women have a relatively low incidence rate but the mortality rate is on par with the national average, Peters said.
"Women under 40 should see their doctor to determine their risk factors," she said.
For black women the foundation urges early screening because black women are being diagnosed with the disease at an earlier age and often with a more aggressive form, Peters said. Komen's screening guidelines are found at http://www.komen.org.
Gibby's new imaging center should make it more convenient for women to get the screening done, he said. The wait time is short and the screening discrete and quick.
"We are able to get images from other centers to compare with, if you have been going to other facilities. If anything suspicious shows up we do other tests such as magnification views, ultra-sound, MRI or biopsy right on site," Gibby said. "Most insurances will pay for it so there are few excuses not to get it. We also offer steep discounts for cash pay patients."
Still, many women who don't get screened annually don't believe they will get the disease or they would rather pursue a holistic approach of preventing it or have a fatalistic view of life, Gibby said.
"Once you get (breast cancer), it's harder to deal with it," he said.
A cancer smaller than 2 centimeters has a 90 percent cure rate, but if it spreads, the cure rate drops dramatically.
"Everyone knows someone who has died from it," he said. "Causes may include a predisposition or family history and it's more common among women who don't breast feed. Other factors are diet and toxic exposures. You can't control it entirely, but you can screen for it."
Early screening and treatments have resulted in a drastic drop in cancer deaths, but the incidence has not changed in 30 years.
"I take a personal view of it," Gibby said. "Both my mother and my sister had breast cancer. My mother underwent a radical mastectomy, and although cured, was horribly disfigured for the rest of her life. I would hope other women would not have to suffer as she did by detecting the cancer earlier"
Riverwoods Imaging Center, located at 3152 N. University Ave., is in a new building that includes the Blue Rock Medical Center, an emergency care facility and other medical disciplines.