Thanks to the FTMC Auxiliary, women will no longer have to leave this community to have access to one of the latest high-tech tools used to detect breast cancer MRI breast cancer screenings.
The auxiliary recently donated $130,000 for new high-tech equipment that allows FTMC's 1.5 Tesla MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) to provide high-resolution breast images. The new technology will is scheduled to be in use early in 2008.
"We appreciate this generous donation by the auxiliary," said FTMC president Patrick J. Martin. "With this latest step in providing tomorrow's technology to our community, FTMC will be the only area facility to offer full-time availability of this potentially life-saving technology."
Magnetic resonance imaging of the breast called breast MRI is a breast-imaging technique that uses radio waves and magnetic fields to capture multiple cross-sectional pictures of the breast and combines them, using a computer, to generate detailed 2-D and 3-D pictures, according to Dr. Matthew Gutowicz, Jr., chief of radiology and nuclear medicine at Fisher-Titus. Breast MRI is performed as an adjunct when doctors need more information than a mammogram, ultrasound or clinical breast exam can provide.
"Mammography is always the first line test to look for breast tumors," Gutowicz said. "For women with an average risk of breast cancer, mammography remains the best tool for detection. But for patients with a higher risk of contracting breast cancer, the MRI provides a powerful diagnostic tool."
The American Cancer Society (ACS) in March said that MRIs combined with mammography heighten the chances that doctors will find cancer early in high-risk patients. It also is an important component in the detection of breast cancer in the opposite breast among women recently diagnosed with breast cancer.
The ACS also recommends yearly mammograms for women starting at age 40, while those at higher risk should begin getting mammograms at age 30.
"Women should consult their doctor to determine their risk levels for breast cancer," Gutowicz said. "They also should perform monthly breast self examinations and have yearly physical exams."
FTMC's imaging center performed more than 5,000 mammograms so far this year.
FTMC has two mammography units and was the first hospital in the area to add computer-aided detection (CAD) technology, giving women the extra assurance of detecting abnormalities as early as possible.
The FTMC mammography program's caring and highly qualified technologists are specially trained in mammography and are certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. In addition, FTMC board certified radiologists Dr. Matthew F. Gutowicz and Dr. William L. Ferber combine their training, expertise and experience to read and interpret mammograms. Both radiologists recently were trained in reading and interpreting breast MRIs.
To meet the high standards of image quality, FTMC's mammography program is accredited by the American College of Radiology and is in compliance with FDA Mammography Quality Standards.
FTMC's 1.5 Tesla Magnet was installed in 2004. The ultra-high speed magnet provides scanning speeds six times faster than conventional MRIs. The scanner's shorter tunnel and high speed help reduce that closed-in feeling some patients experience.