NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Nacogdoches Medical Center launched its new Breast Health Center Wednesday.
The hospital's staff told East Texas that a new location, new equipment and even new research will help protect the lives of East Texas women.
A large, attractively decorated lobby and roomy dressing rooms replace a tiny setting where women used to sit face to face waiting for a mammogram.
There are the mammography room and dedicated ultrasound and bone density screening rooms. The main feature is high resolution technology that's used to perform biopsies in the event of an abnormal mammogram.
"It's a stereotactic machine which we can actually do breast guided biopsies right here," said Miguel Garcia, the medical imaging director.
It greatly reduces a patient's wait to learn if they have cancer.
"They suffer anxiety and want to know right away what's going on so it's definitely a key factor diagnosing those things as to whether it's malignant or benign," Garcia said.
Fellowship-trained breast imaging radiologist Dr. Chris Sherman is all too familiar with the equipment.
"This is the one they have at M.D. Anderson," Sherman said. "It's the one I trained on."
It will be used to biopsy calcifications. The high resolution technology will pinpoint the sites within millimeters.
'The reason why radiologists, breast imagers reading the mammogram are concerned about this is because the earliest form of breast cancer, the cancer that's just growing in the ducts before it's actually become invasive, tends to form calcifications," Sherman said.
The bigger message the doctor wants to convey is the importance of early detection. The latest research shows more younger women are being diagnosed with breast cancer.
"You can get a baseline screening mammogram between the ages of 35 and 39," Sherman said. "You just need the name of a doctor to have the report sent to. All you have to do is call us up. You don't need a doctor's order, you can just come in and get your baseline screening."
Evening, and periodically, Saturday appointments are available.
Hospital staff and physicians have undergone training on the new biopsy equipment and its software. They're pleased to offer the new service to the community.