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Newly Opened Center at St. Francis is dedicated to Women's Breast Health 

“Saving women’s lives…it’s our reason for being,” said Wade Wallace, MD, Director of Radiology at the Elena Diaz-Verson Amos Center for Breast Health when it opened in 2013 at St. Francis Hospital.

The doctors and staff are passionate about offering not just breast imaging but proactively providing breast health services. They are able to do that with the most advanced tools in the area and in a brand new facility.

The Center for Breast Health, which has a separate entrance and free valet parking, is located in the newly completed Women’s Hospital on the St. Francis campus. It is spacious and welcoming and, in many ways, probably feels more like a spa than a medical facility. The glass lobby and one of the procedure rooms feature a sensory experience that calms patients and makes the breast screening experience more pleasant. Patients can select a waterfall, seaside or garden environment and their sight, smell and hearing are stimulated in an all encompassing interactive experience.

While the sensory suite is designed to distract patients from the perceived discomfort and anxiety of a mammogram, it is the advanced equipment, professional expertise and the concentrated focus of the Center for Breast Health that make it the premier facility in the state.

Focus on Breast Health

While at many facilities, breast imaging is just one of many exams conducted, the Center for Breast Health is a dedicated, full-service breast health facility with screening and diagnostic mammography, breast ultrasound, ultrasound and stereotactic guided biopsies, dedicated breast MRI, molecular breast imaging, genetic testing and counseling.

When patients first come to the Center, they are questioned about their family history. If there is a positive history for breast cancer, a computer-generated risk assessment is conducted. This guides the professional staff in determining if other imaging studies should be used. While a mammogram is still the best tool, it is not perfect. Dr. Wallace says that research shows that mammography misses 15 percent of breast cancers;  in women with dense breast tissue it may miss 30 percent. For that reason, ultrasound, molecular imaging or MRI are recommended for women at higher risk of developing breast cancer. “We are proactive in offering these options,” Tiffany Dean, RT, the director of the Center for Breast Health explains. Genetic counseling and testing for the breast cancer gene may also be recommended.

State-of-the-art Equipment

Almost every tool available to detect breast cancer is available at the Center for Breast Health including 3D mammography (added after the center opening). The Center was the first in the state to offer Automated Whole-Breast Ultrasound (AWBUS), which is an important screening tool for women with dense breasts. There is a 35.7 percent increase in cancer detection when AWBUS is used in conjunction with mammography.

An Aurora MRI dedicated solely to breast imaging, two digital GE mammography units, and two diagnostic ultrasound units ensure that the diagnostician has the best method to detect a potential problem. Other equipment which helps to insure detection includes Breast-Specific Gamma Imaging (BSGI), which uses a small injection of radioactive substance before imaging so that abnormal tissue shows up as an area of increased activity. The halogic stereotactic technology biopsy table provides efficient and precise breast biopsy technology while meeting patient care and comfort needs.

Going Beyond Imaging

Testing is important, but without counseling, women can be left with questions and concerns. Dr. Wallace points out that it is extremely important to identify patients who carry the BRCA gene because they are at very high risk for developing breast cancer - an up to 85 percent greater risk. The Center doesn’t just test for the gene, but offers free genetic counseling in advance since some patients are reluctant to know the outcome.

At age 50, a woman’s chances of dying from complications of osteoporosis are even greater than her chances of dying from breast cancer. The condition is preventable and treatable so the Center for Breast Health also offers DXA bone density testing to identify those who have evidence of abnormal bone density.

Physicians and Staff

Even the best equipment can’t save lives without talented, dedicated professionals. The breast radiologists at the Center have more than 50 years of combined experience. In addition to Dr. Wallace, radiologist Roland Wong, MD, and surgeon Charles Scarborough, MD, have advanced training and the technologists are specially trained in breast imaging.

For more information call 706-257-7700.