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Community Advocacy Organization

Mammography Will Get Better

For most women, mammograms are the bane of our existence. They’re uncomfortable and often painful. There are times that we must repeat a portion of the exam because things just weren’t positioned right. BIG SIGH!! But help is on the way…

General Electric Healthcare, more popularly referred to as GE Healthcare, has designed a new system for mammography that will eliminate the sharp edges and corners that make the machine appear “industrial and intimidating”, according to USA Today.

“The bar that women are asked to grab, at times so tightly that it affects the quality of the mammogram, is replaced by arm rests…a wireless remote lets the woman rather than a technician, adjust how much the breast is compressed or pinched, for the scan.”

This system, known as the Senographe Pristina was “designed by a team of women just outside of Paris where most of the design and manufacturing for GE Healthcare’s mammography systems is done. The unit is part of GE Healthcare’s imaging business based in Waukesha, Wisconsin.”

A unique aspect of this system is that “it can produce 3-D images which emits low dosages of X-rays as it moves over the breast and then combines the images into a 3-D picture that can help physicians identify possible tumors.” Reportedly, “more than 90% of new mammography systems use 3-D technology.

The premiere version of the Pristina was introduced in this country in November, 2016, but the wireless remote control that allows the patient to determine what is too tight and what isn’t, was recently approved in September of this year.

In case you didn’t know, “compressing the breast spreads tissue” and provides better imaging with less radiation, but it’s painful. But women can compress their breasts better than the technicians do which should allow for less attempts for an accurate reading and minimal discomfort. Since the patient has control of the remote control, that alone should feel empowering, thereby reducing anxiety and tension.

“It’s the first in the industry, so nothing like this exists,” said Agnes Berzsenyi, president and chief executive of women’s health care for GE Healthcare.

Breast cancer is a constant threat to women’s health. The American Cancer Society estimates that 40,610 women will die from the disease this year. Studies report that 69% of women 45 years and older reported having a mammogram within the past two years in 2013, according to the National Health Interview Survey.

Therefore, the major goal of the Senographe Pristina is “to make mammography less uncomfortable and reduce patients’ anxiety” in hopes that more women will get them. It is estimated that one in four women experience anxiety or discomfort during the procedure, which is often a deterrent for being screened.

“If there is a way we can decrease the anxiety, fear and discomfort that these women face, then perhaps that should help improve compliance,” said Kathy Schiling, a radiologist and medical director of the Christine E. Lynn Women’s Health &Wellness Center at Boca Raton Regional Hospital in Florida.

GE Healthcare, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, “provides transformational medical technologies and services that are shaping a new age of patient care with “broad expertise in medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, drug discovery, bio-pharmaceutical manufacturing technologies, performance improvement and performance solutions services to help health care providers deliver better care to more people around the world at lower costs.”

Their motto is “We’re at Work for a Healthier World.” They serve healthcare professionals and their patients in more than 100 countries.

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