Quakertown News

Published on December 4th, 2015


Busy Restauranteur Chooses Low-Dose 3D Mammography in the SensorySuite® for Her Screening Experience

Susan Dale, 54, of Quakertown Proves It’s Never Too Late to Have a First Mammogram

For many women, making the time to have an important health screening like a mammogram can take a backseat to the demands of everyday life. This was the case for Susan Dale, a busy restaurant owner, who just had her first screening mammogram at age 54. Her first experience was unique and, in a sense, enjoyable. Susan chose to be screened with GE Healthcare’s new SenoClaire® low dose 3D mammography technology in the SensorySuite® recently installed at St. Luke’s Upper Perkiomen Outpatient Center.

Susan, along with her husband John, have been proprietors of the historic Spinnerstown Hotel Restaurant and Tap Room located just outside of Quakertown for more than 20 years. She is also on the board of St. Luke’s Hospital-Quakertown Campus, serving as Board Chair.

When asked why she waited to make an appointment, Susan confessed, “Since I don’t have a family history of breast cancer, I wasn’t as concerned but knew I should have it done. I would always get reminded by my doctor to get screened. Also, two of my three daughters are in the medical field and have pressed me to get this taken care of, so I was happy to do it for them.”

The SensorySuite is designed to provide a more relaxing mammography experience for women allowing them to choose the environmental ambiance. In the suite, sights, sounds and smells of the seaside, garden or waterfall encourage a sense of well-being and calm, which aid to reduce some of the awkwardness a patient may feel during a mammogram. Susan chose a beautiful garden as the setting for her first mammogram. “It was kind of fun,” she admits.

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.

St. Luke’s is able to offer these newest advances in breast screening to women in Upper Bucks County thanks to a nearly three-decade relationship with GE Healthcare, according to Joseph Russo, MD, Section Chief of Women’s Imaging, St. Luke’s University Health Network. The same technologies were installed earlier this year at St. Luke’s West End Medical Center in Allentown. Only a handful of locations nationwide provide them together. In fact, the nearest provider to offer the GE 3D technology with the Sensory Suite is Cooper Medical System in Camden, NJ.

Susan is glad she had her first mammogram, but is even happier with the results. “It’s good to know everything is just fine,” she said. “I will see them again next year.”

St. Luke’s University Health Network reports breast cancer detection rates higher than national average with fewer call-backs.

Ultimately, technology is a tool to assist highly-trained physicians to diagnose disease in its early stages for the optimal health of patients, according to Dr. Russo, who reports that St. Luke’s breast cancer detection rate of five patients per 1,000 screened is higher than the national average of 3.95 patients per 1,000. This means that St. Luke’s has a breast cancer detection rate that is 25 percent higher than counterparts across the country.

On average, 10 percent of women are called back after a screening mammogram to a second appointment for additional images when a “finding” is detected. Thanks to advanced technology and highly-skilled radiologists, St. Luke’s call back rate is less at only 8.49 percent. This data means as many as 600 St. Luke’s patients annually are spared unnecessary call-back appointments, reducing lost work time, anxiety and the costs associated with duplicate testing.

Technologies such as Breast MRI, automated breast ultrasound (ABUS) or 3D mammography (tomosynthesis) may serve as an effective supplement to screening mammography. Effectively using breast screening tools can lead to a significant increase in cancer detection rate while reducing the need for a return visit or an unnecessary breast biopsy. In addition to advanced technologies and easy access to Women’s Imaging Centers throughout the region, St. Luke’s takes breast screening one step further by offering female patients an Individualized Breast Screening Program based on her family history, age and health.

“St. Luke’s uses the most comprehensive risk assessment tool available today, the Tyrer-Cuzick model,” says Dr. Russo. “The tool takes breast density and genetic and non-genetic risk factors into account to help us determine the most effective and efficient screening protocols for each patient. Personalized screening strategies and state-of-the-art technologies together are powerful weapons in the battle against breast cancer.”

Photo Caption: Susan Dale shares a moment with Dr. Joseph Russo in the new SensorySuite at St. Luke’s Upper Perkiomen Outpatient Center.

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