Allentown News

Published on June 8th, 2015

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St Luke’s Introduces the Future of Breast Screening and the Newest Breast Imaging Technologies from GE Healthcare

St. Luke’s now offers the lowest dose 3D mammography in the region and a sensory experience that may ease anxiety during a mammogram.

Recognizing that one size does not fit all, St. Luke’s has aligned advanced breast screening technologies together with St. Luke’s Individualized Breast Screening Program, to provide a fast, dependable diagnosis and reduce the amount of unnecessary return visits and biopsies.

“With all of the resources our Network has to offer, we can provide the screening option that best addresses a patient’s individual risk factors and breast density,” says Joseph Russo, MD, Section Chief of Women’s Imaging, St. Luke’s University Health Network. “Breast ultrasound, breast MRI, or 3D mammography (tomosynthesis) may serve as an effective supplement to mammography. A combination of carefully chosen screening exams may lead to a significant increase in cancer detection rate while reducing the need for a return visit or an unnecessary breast biopsy.”

Throughout its network, St. Luke’s combines the latest advances in breast imaging from GE Healthcare with 14 convenient screening locations and experienced breast radiologists. This includes the region’s lowest dose 3D mammography system and automated breast ultrasound, state-of-the-art breast imaging technologies appropriate for women with dense breast tissue.

St. Luke’s also tailors breast screening for each woman, applying the most comprehensive risk assessment tool available today, the Tyrer-Cuzick model, according to Dr. Russo. “The tool takes breast density and genetic and non-genetic risk factors into account,” he says.

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Automated Breast Ultrasound (ABUS) uses sound waves, not radiation, to create state-of-the-art breast images. It was designed specifically and approved by the FDA for women with dense breast tissue.

3D Mammography and SensorySuite® at St. Luke’s West End Medical Center

Among the St. Luke’s Women’s Imaging Center locations is the West End Medical Center in Allentown, home to the region’s lowest dose 3D mammography system — GE’s SenoClaire® breast tomosynthesis and also the new SensorySuite®.

The 3D technology uses a low-dose, short X-ray sweep around the compressed breast. This imaging technique is designed to separate the tissues and to reduce the overlapping of structures, which represents a limiting factor in standard 2D mammography. GE’s SensorySuite innovates breast screening by allowing a woman to choose the environmental ambiance she prefers for her 2D or 3D mammogram. The suite stimulates a woman’s sense of sight, sound and smell simultaneously to reduce worry or anxiety.

“Mammography exams can be perceived as uncomfortable or even intimidating,” Dr. Russo says. “As a result, a quarter of all women avoid mammograms out of fear. The SensorySuite® was designed to distract the patient from the perceived discomfort, pain and anxiety.”

St. Luke’s Regional Breast Cancer Offers Diagnostic Breast Care in a Comfortable Setting

St. Luke’s Regional Breast Center, the first facility of its kind in the region to provide higher-level breast imaging exclusively, has been designated a Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology.

When women require follow-up care, St. Luke’s Regional Breast Center in Center Valley can offer diagnostic appointments the same day. If needed, same-day biopsy is often available. Also, in an effort to help patients relax, the Center offers these services in a serene, nurturing environment and features private, spacious changing rooms with Internet access.

Advanced imaging technology offered at the Center includes Automated Breast Ultrasound (ABUS), which was designed specifically and approved by the FDA for women with dense breast tissue. ABUS can provide a clearer, more accurate evaluation of dense breast tissue and can be used to complement screening mammography. ABUS uses sound waves — not radiation — to create state-of-the-art 3D images of the breast tissue.

For patients needing further evaluation, the Regional Breast Center has certified breast health nurse navigators to provide education and support through the diagnostic exam, breast biopsy and diagnosis. If surgery is required, post-surgical and follow-up care are also provided.

“Still finding breast cancers earlier all begins with breast screening, which has received a lot of criticism lately despite its proven role in saving lives.” Dr. Russo says. “When we look back on this time in future years, the hallmark of this era should not be that women stopped getting mammograms, but rather that this was a time when “personalized” screening strategies and technologies — not available to their mothers and grandmothers — emerged as powerful weapons in the battle against breast cancer.”


Feature Image: St. Luke’s now offers the lowest dose 3D mammography in the region and a sensory experience that may ease anxiety during a mammogram. The Sensory Suite allows patients to choose the ambiance, be it seaside, garden or waterfall.

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