Harris Methodist Northwest Now Offers Technology for Digital Mammography
03/07/2008

AZLE, Texas — With an estimated 1,134 newly diagnosed cases of breast cancer each year in Tarrant and Parker counties, according to the Texas Cancer Registries, there is a tremendous need for more education, prevention and better imaging equipment to diagnose breast cancer at its earliest stages.

Younger patients with dense breasts can benefit from new digital mammography service, such as that now offered at Harris Methodist Northwest Hospital, according to a study by the National Cancer Institute. The study revealed that digital mammography is significantly better at diagnosing cancer in women under 50 and in women of any age who have very dense breasts.

Digital mammography also provides for easier storage and transmission of images because the “pictures” can be saved and distributed electronically. In some cases, it also allows for less exposure to radiation because the digital image allows physicians to magnify areas of the breast instead of subjecting patients to additional images during the mammogram.

“We are excited to have this new advanced technology to offer our patients,” said Tony Sanchez, manager of radiology at Harris Methodist Northwest Hospital.

Film mammography has been used for more than 35 years, but has been shown to be less sensitive for women who have dense breasts. Studies have shown that approximately 10 to 20 percent of cancers detected during physical examination or breast self-examination are not visible on film mammography.

Digital mammography stores an electronic image of the breast directly in a computer. It uses less radiation than standard film mammography.

“Providing digital mammography adds a new component to our imaging and diagnostic services, making one less reason that people would need to travel out of the area to get advanced health care,” said Harris Methodist Northwest Hospital President Winjie Tang Miao. “That's important to us and the communities we serve.”

According to the American Cancer Society, women age 40 and older should have a screening mammogram every year and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health. Women who have a family history of breast cancer and/or women who are at higher risk for breast cancer should consult with their physicians about whether they should begin screening at an earlier age and how frequently they should receive a mammogram.

About Harris Methodist Northwest Hospital
Harris Methodist Northwest Hospital, a member of Texas Health Resources, serves Azle, Springtown, Lake Worth and greater northwest Tarrant County and Parker County. Founded in 1954, the hospital has 100 physicians practicing on its medical staff and offers a wide range of services including cardiology, orthopedics, imaging and rehabilitation. For more information, call 1-888-4-HARRIS.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served. THR controls 13 affiliated hospitals and a medical research organization, and is a corporate member or partner in seven additional hospitals and surgery centers. THR’s family of hospitals includes Harris Methodist Hospitals, Arlington Memorial Hospital and Presbyterian Healthcare System. For more information about Texas Health Resources, visit www.texashealth.org.