Enhanced EKRH Mammography Services Well Ahead of Schedule

Submitted by EKFH on 20-11-2012

CRANBROOK – Thanks to the dedication of the East Kootenay Foundation for Health, the Health Care Auxiliaries in Cranbrook, Invermere, Windermere, Edgewater/Radium, the Elk Valley Hospital Foundation and the generosity of local communities, women in the East Kootenay will have access to enhanced breast cancer diagnosis early in the new year through new digital mammography equipment.

“The fact Interior Health is able to start implementing this service almost a year ahead of schedule is a testament to the dedication and passion East Kootenay residents have for their health and to the commitment of the East Kootenay Foundation for Health,” said Bill Bennett, MLA for Kootenay East.

With $1 million raised through the Foundation’s A Clear View – digital mammography campaign, IH has ordered the new equipment and will be ready to begin installation and make renovations early in the new year. The enhanced mammography services will begin in February. Given the success of the campaign, the Foundation will place any funds above those required for the new mammography equipment into the EKRH Diagnostic Imaging – Mammography Trust Fund to support future service improvements.

“I would like to congratulate the Foundation and the community for this amazing accomplishment. We are truly grateful for your efforts in moving this service forward,” said Norman Embree, IH Board Chair.

“What an exciting time for the East Kootenay Regional Hospital and especially the Diagnostic Imaging department. Our fundraising campaign for digital mammography was originally set to extend well into 2013. Thanks to the outpouring of support from our donors, we have helped Interior Health bring the best in breast cancer care imaging to the East Kootenay way ahead of schedule,” said Donna Grainger, Executive Director for East Kootenay Foundation for Health.

With digital mammography, the breast image is captured using a special electronic X-ray detector that converts the X-ray image into a digital image, which is available for immediate review on a computer monitor. The digital mammogram is stored in a computer archive and is available for viewing from any location in Interior Health with electronic archive access, either within the hospital or from the referring doctor’s office.

The magnification, brightness, and contrast of the image may be manipulated after the exam is complete to improve the image quality and visibility of some lesions, improving sensitivity for finding an abnormality.

Digital mammography is more efficient than traditional X-ray, reduces radiation dose and provides more information particularly in the setting of dense breast tissue. This gives a better chance of detecting breast cancer.

“The new digital mammography equipment allows EKRH to offer patients state of the art breast imaging. The addition of stereotactic biopsy capabilities fills the last need missing locally. We are so happy to now be able to offer such high quality breast imaging care to regional patients,” said Dr. Julie Nicol, EKRH Radiologist.

The new equipment and technology will also allow EKRH radiologists to do stereotactic core needle biopsies, a less invasive form of biopsy, in Cranbrook. Currently, regional patients have to travel outside the area to access this less invasive procedure.

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Media, for information:
Karl Hardt, Communications Officer Interior Health