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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month - Encourage someone you love to have her annual digital mammogram

October 21, 2012
Reinbeck Courier

Breast cancer is by far the most prevalent type of cancer found in women. By offering the latest technology in mammography, Grundy County Memorial Hospital (GCMH) hopes to increase the number of women who routinely undergo yearly screening. Statistics indicate that one in eight women will develop breast cancer sometime in her life. If detected early, the five-year survival rate is 97 percent.

Patients having mammograms at Grundy County Memorial Hospital have the latest diagnostic technology available to them. The hospital has replaced traditional film imaging with direct digital technology that provides superior image quality. Similar to a digital camera, a digital mammogram produces a clear image that can be viewed seconds after exposure. Digital mammography is different from conventional mammography in how the image of the breast is viewed. The Radiologist can magnify the image, increase or decrease the contrast, and focus on small areas. This improves the chances of detecting abnormalities such as faint masses or small clusters of calcifications.

Digital mammograms have been shown to be more accurate, particularly for women who are younger than 50, have dense breasts, or are pre-menopausal. In many cases, digital mammograms are able to pinpoint more serious cancers earlier, meaning treatment can begin sooner. Forty percent of all women have dense breasts and would benefit from having a digital mammography examination. Digital mammography also delivers 30% to 40% lower radiation dose compared to conventional film and CR mammography.

Article Photos

GCMH Radiology staff member, Jodi Melcher, shows a patient the difference between traditional and digital mammography.

The process is the same as with traditional mammography screening, so patients will not notice any differences and the exam itself will feel the same. The difference is in the quality of the digital image, which is more detailed. There is no wait time for film to be developed, allowing images to be reviewed in the exam room to evaluate their quality. The files are then instantly available, ready for review, and can be accessed from almost anywhere. This allows multiple physicians to see the same image at the same time to discuss findings. The images are also available to be read by the Radiologist quicker, which means that patients are able to receive their results sooner.

The Iowa Care for Yourself Program is available at GCMH. This program helps low-income, uninsured, and underinsured women gain access to breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services. For more information on this program, call: (800) 369-2229.

GCMH's dedicated staff of three mammography technologists is committed to patient care and comfort. Combining this with the easy access, little to no waiting, and the latest technology makes having your mammogram close to home an easy choice.

The mission of Grundy County Memorial Hospital is to improve the health of the people in the communities we serve. To schedule your digital mammogram, please call GCMH Scheduling at (319) 824-5081 or (888) 824-5081. For more information about the services offered at GCMH, call (319) 824-5421 or visit



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