Diagnostic Breast Technology is a Game Changer

Thanks To BIGHORN BEHIND A MIRACLE (BAM) fundraising on behalf of Eisenhower Lucy Curci Cancer Center, Eisenhower Health offers cutting-edge technology and vital patient support services comparable to the top innovative breast centers nationwide. In the fall of 2018, Eisenhower Schnitzer/Novack Breast Center began using Volpara® Breast Density software technology. Working in tandem with Eisenhower’s 3-D tomosynthesis mammography, the Volpara software provides real-time, automated assessments of each mammography.

“The images taken on our mammogram machines are sent through this software,” explains Danielle Higgins, RT, RMBS, Manager, Eisenhower Schnitzer/Novack Breast Center. “The new software rates for compression, to make sure we’re adequately compressing patients’ breasts — not over or under compressing, which can affect the reading. The software also rates for exposure and for positioning, indicating if we are imaging enough muscle or if we’re missing a part of the breast, such as the back side.”

The new technology creates a Volpara scorecard of each patient, providing information about breast density, patientspecific X-ray dosage — based on a woman’s personalized reading of breast composition — and pressure reading. This information becomes a part of the patient’s imaging records and is used by the technologists.

“It is important that our technologists get real-time feedback to increase the accuracy of the readings,” says Higgins. “The software decreases technical recalls.”

“We offer 3-D tomosynthesis mammograms, which use the Volpara software, to all of our patients, unless they don’t qualify due to breast implants or pacemakers. Many of our older population is healthy and active and still taking hormones, so we see women in their 80s for mammograms. We want to catch breast cancer early in these women, just as we do in our younger patients.”

Contrast-enhanced spectral mammogram (CesM) The Breast Center also offers contrast-enhanced spectral mammograms for patients unable to have an MRI due to a pacemaker or because of claustrophobia.hologic® affirm® Breast Biopsy Guidance system Also new at Eisenhower is the Hologic Affirm Breast Biopsy Guidance System. The new procedure table has a memory foam top for greater patient comfort while receiving a diagnostic breast biopsy. Reading both 2D and 3D imaging, the technology allows the physician better access to target lesions, including those visible only in tomosynthesis images. Procedures are more streamlined, resulting in shorter patient procedure time.

“Patients are on the table less time because of the improved technology, and the radiologist can view each sample as soon as it is taken to see if there is calcification,” says Higgins. “Calcifications are usually what we’re looking for — they look like grains of salt. They can be benign or they can be the beginning of cancer. We look for calcifications or anything that looks suspicious or indeterminate.

“Women who have fibrocystic breast tissue can have calcifications throughout their breasts and it’s simply part of their tissue. Calcifications that tend to cluster or form a line that’s new — those are the ones we’ll want to biopsy. “Our goal is to provide a continuum of care and services for each patient, using the best technology available,” says Higgins.

The Eisenhower Schnitzer/Novack Breast Center has two locations: Eisenhower Lucy Curci Cancer Center on the main campus of Eisenhower Health in Rancho Mirage, and Eisenhower George and Julia Argyros Health Center in La Quinta. For more information, visit EisenhowerHealth.org/breast or call 760.773.4338 for an appointment.