December 13, 2010


WAYNESBORO, Tenn. — Digital mammography will be added to the diagnostic services offered at Wayne Medical Center (WMC) on December 21.

“Digital mammography detects significantly more cancers than film mammography, especially in women age 50 and younger and women with dense breasts,” said Franklin Cole, radiology department manager.

From the patient’s point of view, a digital mammogram is like traditional film screen mammography. Both use X-ray 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 X-ray energy into a digital image. The resulting digital images are immediately available to the radiologist for diagnosis.

The radiologist can view and manipulate the images on high-resolution computer monitors that enhance visualization of the structures within the breast tissue. 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.

Digital mammography offers a number of other practical advantages and patient conveniences. Because there is no waiting for film to be developed, patients spend less time waiting for results and the need for repeat exams due to under or over exposure is reduced. Digital images are easily stored and transferred electronically, eliminating the dependency on one set of original films.

According to The American Cancer Society (ACC), breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in the United States, other than skin cancer. Statistics demonstrate that one in eight women will develop breast cancer sometime in her life. The stage at which breast cancer is detected influences a woman’s survival. If detected early, the five-year survival rate is 97 percent. The ACC states that early detection tests for breast cancer save many thousands of lives each year, and that many more lives could be saved if more women took advantage of these tests.