BCH wants 147 mammograms in six weeks
October 90, 2012
“The sad fact is that one out of eight women
will have breast cancer in their lifetime," said
Boundary Community Hospital CEO Craig Johnson.
"That is a huge number and a women’s health
issue that we want to address. We have set the
goal of providing 50 more mammograms in the next
six weeks than is our normal average."
Community Hospital's state-of-the-art
digital mammography system.
That sets an ambitious goal of 147 mammograms by
Based purely on numbers, if the one in eight
average holds true, there is a possibility of
detecting cancer in 18 people out of the 147
total mammograms. When breast cancer is detected
early, there is a marked increase in the chance
of treating it successfully.
With that in mind, Boundary Community Hospital
has reduced the cost of a mammogram 25% for a
limited time to create a “tipping point” for the
women in our community to decide that now is the
time to have this extremely important test
Radiologic technologist Kathleen Howarth, a
veteran of 27 years in the field, administers
the mammograms at Boundary Community Hospital.
She knows what she is doing and is very
personable, making the procedure as comfortable
Many women are afraid it is painful. Each breast
is compressed between two plastic plates, one at
a time. There is enough pressure applied to
flatten the breast as much as possible so the
X-rays can penetrate all layers. The X-rays can
detect more abnormalities because of the
compression. Is it uncomfortable? Yes. Is it
Most women would say no.
The breasts are more sensitive and tender around
the time of menstruation, so schedule your exam
You can blame the compression part of the exam
on Raul Laborgne, a radiologist from Uruguay. He
is the person who introduced his compression
technique in 1949.
At that time, he had devised an apparatus that
would squeeze the patient’s breast between a
cone and a compression pad. Before placing his
name on your “bad people of the world” list,
consider that he is credited with saving 1.6
million lives with his compression work combined
with studies of low radiation breast imaging.
His contributions increased the quality of the
images, which improved the accuracy of detection
and diagnosis. Early diagnosis of best cancer
significantly improves survival rates.
Dr. Melendez, radiologist for Boundary Community
Hospital, reads the mammograms. He is very
highly respected in the field of radiologists.
He examines the X-rays, looking for
The term “read” can be misleading.
There is no script that describes the state of
the breast tissue. There is an image; the more
trained a radiologist is, the better he can
interpret the picture. In addition to his
clinical work, Dr. Melendez has trained others
at the University of Utah.
Using the latest in digital technology, Boundary
Community Hospital’s mammogram system is similar
to a digital camera. There is no film to
develop. The image is available instantly.
This is very handy.
If, for some reason, another view of the breast
is necessary, the radiologic technologists can
see it immediately and shoot another photo. The
extremely high resolution of the digital image
allows the image to be enlarged and magnified to
a very high degree, without losing clarity and
This advantage of zooming in on potential
problem areas deep in the tissue increases the
ability to detect cancer.
Another advantage of the new digital mammography
system is that the image is easy to store
The next time you have a mammogram, the
radiologist displays the earlier mammogram
alongside the new image, comparing one year to
Differences between the previous mammogram and
the current mammogram become obvious. It is best
practice to have your mammogram at the same
facility, year after year. If that is no longer
convenient, it is best to access your old film
for your new radiologist to have on file.
The digital mammography system also includes a
computer generated read-out. The radiologist can
compare with the computer to see if they both
have reached the same conclusion.
The 25% savings on mammograms that Boundary
Community Hospital is currently offering works
out to be around $80. The hospital’s facility
can handle between 32 and 40 exams per week.
All mammograms must be completed by November 16,
2012, to receive the 25% discount. The best
thing to do is to call as quickly as possible to
schedule the mammogram to ensure there is an
available time slot for you.
Panhandle Health Clinic offers a voucher for
both Susan G. Komen and Women’s Health Check.
Between those two programs, most age groups are
covered. Both are tied to the patient’s income
level. They are well worth checking into. The
phone number for Panhandle Health District is
To schedule your mammogram at Boundary Community
Hospital call (208) 3141 ext. 4258.
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