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Aurora Medical Center in Oshkosh Offers Advanced Breast Cancer Detection

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Aurora Medical Center, Oshkosh has added digital mammography capability to its imaging services at the hospital. Digital mammography is the latest technology to help identify and detect breast cancer. The first digital mammogram took place Wednesday, Jan. 23.

""It's a matter of fact now... we have the ability to better detect cancer," says Darrell McGill, medical imaging director for Aurora Medical Center, Oshkosh. " The benefits of digital mammography are incredible... clearer images and more accurate diagnosis. It also takes less time to generate digital images than conventional film mammography."

"Wow, this technology is terrific to have in Oshkosh," said Julie Portman, 53, one of the first patients to get a digital mammogram in Oshkosh. "I was surprised when I heard what the machine could do. I'm so happy you're able to offer this to me and the rest of your patients.''

The new digital mammography unit creates clearer images than film-based systems. Because the images are produced within seconds, there is no waiting for films to be developed, shortening the time it takes to complete a mammogram. With digital mammography, physicians can zoom in for close ups of specific areas and adjust the brightness. Being able to manipulate images is another benefit of the digital technology.

"The digital imaging has been around for quite awhile now, but we were waiting until the monitors were high enough resolution that they could handle the job of visualizing abnormalities on mammograms, which many times, are very small," says Sean Wang, MD and radiologist at Aurora Medical Center, Oshkosh. "When something is digital, it allows us to manipulate things like contrast and brightness. You can do computerized algorithms on the images, and you can do things where you invert the image very easily on the fly ... or magnify the images on the computer system, whereas previously, to get a magnified image, the only way you could do that was to create a new image."

Wang said digital mammography is especially beneficial for women under age 50, premenopausal and perimenopausal women, and women with dense breast tissue.

How does digital mammography differ from standard mammography?

In standard mammography, the images are recorded on film and viewed by the radiologist using a light box. The image is stored in a jacket in the hospital's archives.

With digital mammography, the breast image is captured by a special electronic x-ray detector that converts the image into a digital picture for review on a computer monitor. Digital mammograms are stored on a computer.

"The other important benefit of digital mammography is that the images can be transmitted over phone lines or a network so our physicians can consult with other physicians, if necessary,'' says Wang.

For more information on digital mammography, please call Aurora Medical Center at 920-456-6000 and ask for mammography.

Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin health care provider and a nationally recognized leader in efforts to improve the quality of health care. Aurora offers services at sites in more than 90 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin.

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Contact: Mark Kantola (920-451-5351)

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