Donations Support New 3D Mammogram Unit at Medical Center
Pictured left to right: Volunteers Jean Christensen and Cyndi Adamec with Christie Kintner, mammogram technologist, and Nicole Potter, development director, MidMichigan Health Foundation.
Patients in the Gladwin area now have access to new technology that improves breast cancer detection while reducing false positives. Proceeds from the Bra-La-La event hosted by the volunteers at MidMichigan Medical Center – Gladwin help fund the purchase of a new 3D mammography unit at the Medical Center.
“We are thrilled to see our fundraising effort bring this wonderful technology to the Gladwin community,” said Cyndi Adamec, volunteer chair, Bra-La-La event. “The community showed overwhelming support for our Bra-La-La events and now the community is benefiting from this lifesaving technology.”
Adamec explained that after the first event, community members, students from the college and area businesses called them to make sure they could be part of the following years Bra-La-La event.
“The success of the Bra-La-La event is a reflection of the Gladwin community and their support of the Medical Center,” said Nicole Potter, development director, MidMichigan Health Foundation, serving Gladwin and West Branch. “While $35,000 was used for the new 3D mammography unit, the remaining funds will continue to be used to support uninsured or underinsured women who need screening mammograms.”
A 3D mammography, also known as Digital Breast Tomosynthesis, uses the same digital mammography equipment as a regular mammogram, but captures additional layers of images through the breasts. It takes just a few seconds more than a regular mammogram. A regular digital screening mammography captures only two images of each breast, while the 3D technology captures many more images allowing the radiologists to visualize masses from normal breast tissue more clearly.
“Research has shown that using breast tomosynthesis in large populations results in improved cancer detection rates and fewer call backs for additional imaging,” said Jeff Morrill, D.O., a radiologist at MidMichigan Medical Center in Gratiot and Mt. Pleasant. “Therefore, the benefits are thought to include earlier detection of small breast cancers that may be ‘hidden’ using conventional mammography, better characterization of a mass, fewer unnecessary biopsies or additional tests and a better way to assess patients with dense breast tissue.”
Most insurance plans now cover routine screening mammograms for eligible patients at no cost to the patient as part of their preventive benefits. A growing number of plans will also cover the additional charges to capture the extra 3D images when a regular mammogram is already covered. However, MidMichigan encourages patients to check with their insurance plan for specific coverage details.
“It’s important that women starting at the age of 40 make a mammogram part of their annual physical even if they have no symptoms or family history of breast cancer,” said Lindsay M. Zeeb, M.D., a radiologist at MidMichigan Medical Center – Midland. “Women with a strong family history of pre-menopausal breast cancer, or who have inherited a gene strongly associated with breast cancer such as BRCA1, BRCA2, should begin screening mammograms earlier than age 40 and should discuss this with their physicians.”
“Simply put, mammography saves lives,” said Dr. Zeeb. “Yearly mammograms can detect cancer early when it is most treatable. Mammograms can show changes in the breast before they can be felt as a lump and also prevent the need for extensive treatment for advanced cancers and the improved chances of breast conservation.”
In addition to Gladwin, MidMichigan Health also offers 3D mammography in Alpena, Gratiot, Midland and Mt. Pleasant. Patients who would like to schedule a mammogram at one of these locations should obtain a mammogram order from their doctor and then call (989) 633-5252 or toll-free (888) 367-2778. Those interested in learning more about 3D mammography may visit www.midmichigan.org/3dmamm.
The remaining funds from Bra-La-La are available to women who may need assistance with the cost of a mammogram. For those who qualify, the fund will cover a significant portion of the cost of mammography. Eligibility is limited and some fees may not be covered. Those interested may call the MidMichigan Health Breast Health Program at MidMichigan Medical Center - Midland at (989) 837-9070 or toll-free at (888) 626-4547, or at MidMichigan Medical Center - Gratiot at (989) 466-7253.