The Women's Health Center features the latest technology for digital mammography, bone densitometry, and ultrasound--all in a spacious, soothing environment.
Breast cancer will affect an average of one in eight women some time in their lifetime. It is the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths in women. Numerous studies prove that early detection is a vital component in the successful treatment of breast cancer.
Mammograms play a central part in the early detection of breast cancer because they can detect changes in the breast that may be early signs of cancer, but are too small or subtle to be felt. The use of mammography has greatly enhanced the ability to detect breast cancer at earlier stages.
Now, a new technology, called full field digital mammography, shows great promise in the fight against breast cancer.
With digital mammography, the radiology reviews electronic images of the breast, using special high-resolution monitors. The physician can adjust the brightness, change contrast, and zoom in for close-ups of specific areas of interest. Being able to manipulate images is one of the main benefits of digital technology.
Another convenience of digital mammography over film-based systems is it can greatly reduce the need for retakes due to over or under exposure. This potentially saves additional time and reduces the woman’s exposure to x-rays.
Because they are electronic, digital mammography images can be transmitted quickly across a network. Digital images can also be easily stored, copied without any loss of information, and transmitted and received in a more streamlined manner eliminating dependence on only one sit of “original” films.
Ultrasound creates pictures of the internal organs of the body from sound waves. There is no radiation; the sound waves are directed into a specific area of the body through a transducer. It is used to help find possible problems or to check a medical condition.
The sound waves hit tissues, body fluids, and bones. Waves then bounce back, like echoes and are converted into pictures of the internal organs and—during pregnancy—the fetus.
Many people think of an ultrasound exam as an exam that is done during pregnancy. This often is true but there are many other health conditions that can be monitored using ultrasound.
Ultrasound is used to look for problems that may occur or to check on the progress of a pregnancy. It can be a useful tool, especially when used with other tests and exams. The obstetrician will explain the reason for an ultrasound and explain how to prepare for the exam.
A standard ultrasound during pregnancy can provide valuable information about the fetus’s health and well-being, including:
- Age of the fetus
- Rate of growth of the fetus
- Placement of the placenta
- Fetal position, movement, breathing, and heart rate
- Amount of amniotic fluid in the uterus
- Number of fetuses
- Some birth defects
Ultrasound is used in gynecology to examine the pelvic organs to help to:
Identify a pelvic mass
Find causes of pelvic pain
Find causes of abnormal bleeding or other menstrual problems
Find the position of an intrauterine device (IUD)
Diagnose and treat infertility
Osteoporosis, which means “porous bones”, causes bones to become weak and brittle—so brittle that a fall or even mild stresses like bending over or coughing can cause a fracture.
Osteoporosis is both preventable and treatable. Often called the “silent disease” it doesn’t produce symptoms until a fracture occurs. The bones most likely to break are the hip, spine, and forearm.
In fact, one in two women and one in eight men are at risk for fracture or have at last one spinal facture and don’t know it. A woman’s risk of hip fracture alone equals her combined risk of developing breast, uterine, or ovarian cancer.
During a comprehensive examination with a DXA, the woman lays comfortably on a padded table while the DXA unit scans two or more areas, usually the fracture-prone hip and spine. Unlike typical x-ray machines, radiation exposure during bone densitometry is extremely low. The entire process takes only minutes to complete. It involves no injections or invasive procedures, and the woman remains fully clothed.
A woman’s chance of developing osteoporosis are greater if you answer “yes” to any of the following questions:
- Thin or small framed
- Approaching or past menopause
- Milk intolerant or have a low calcium intake
- Cigarette smoker
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Taking thyroid medication or steroid-based drugs for asthma, arthritis, or cancer
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