Medical Update: Advancements in Digital Mammography
Oct 10, 2013 at 8:26 PM CST
Oct 10, 2013
While early detection is important, the advancements in mammography have also made for great strides in detecting cancer. It was 2002, and Pastor Sandra Howell went to the doctor regularly and always got her yearly mammogram. So she was devastated when her doctor told her she had breast cancer. "For me, and I think for a lot of people it's the unknown, and just the word Cancer strikes fear in our hearts.” Luckily it was a stage zero, so they had caught it early. It was support from her family and strong faith that got her through surgery and years of medication. "He said begin to think of yourself as cancer free, and so I said well, yeah, instead of cancer victim, I'm taking action and becoming cancer free." Eleven years later, technology has changed. A side-by-side image shows the difference between older film-based scans and digital scans. It’s digital mammography that's helping doctors catch cancer at the beginning stages more often. "Now this thing picked it out for me, and I have my own little magnifier right here and boom there it is, you can see this little cluster of micro calcification, ok." Dr. Golden Pan, a radiologist at Laredo Medical Center, says digital mammography allows him to use a technology called CAD, or computer aided diagnosis, to better treat each patient. "An artificial intelligence software that looks at the picture, analyzes, looks for the same patterns that we radiologists look for to try and figure out whether something is cancer or not." Sandra says she still goes every year for her mammogram, and over the years due to advancements, the procedure has gotten more comfortable. "But still you think, oh god, what if this is the one that they tell me that the cancer has come back, but then I reason with myself and say, if we find it really early, we have a chance to beat this." She says all women owe it to themselves and their families to stay on top of their health. And she says she's looking forward to living life. "I'm eleven years out of this problem, and I'm healthy, I'm full of life, I'm 71 years old and I'm looking forward to the next decade with gusto, vitality, health determination."