Thanks to advances in early detection of breast disease, it’s easier for women to be proactive about their breast health throughout their lifetimes. With the opening of the Dr. Louis and Lucille Spagnuolo Breast Center in November, Botsford Hospital provides a convenient and comfortable setting for total breast care. From screening to diagnosis to treatment, Botsford offers the latest technologies to women.
Digital Mammography Aids In Early Diagnosis
The switch from traditional film to digital mammography is one of the highlights of the new center, which is in a first floor suite in the Botsford Cancer Center. “Digital mammography gives us much more control of the image,” says Andrew Mizzi, D.O., a radiologist at Botsford. “It allows us to change the contrast and to magnify the image, so we can see small calcium deposits and other problem areas more clearly. This allows us to detect breast cancers earlier.”
Digital mammography is especially helpful in detecting breast cancer in women who have dense breast tissue, including women in pre- and post-menopause. “The digital image allows us to see abnormalities in dense breast tissue that we may not see with regular film,” says Dr. Mizzi. “It also allows us to use a smaller amount of radiation because we are looking at a thinner slice of tissue.”
Digital images can also be stored on a computer and sent to other doctors if needed. “When we used film, there was always the risk that the one copy we had could be lost if we had to send it out,” says Dr. Mizzi. “Now we can make as many copies as we need and send them out to any other specialist who might need one.”
A Continuum of Care
If something unusual is found on a screening mammogram, a patient may be called back for additional screening. “We work closely with the referring physician and the patient to determine the best course of action,” says Dr. Mizzi.
When further tests are necessary, Botsford provides the latest technology in advanced diagnostic services. Breast MRI is available on campus. At the breast center, high-resolution breast ultrasound is easily accessible. The center also offers stereotactic and ultrasound-guided core biopsies, which involve using a hollow needle guided by mammography or ultrasound to get a sample of breast tissue. It is less invasive than a surgical biopsy and makes use of the new digital mammograms.
“Using digital imaging with these biopsies really helps us find what we’re looking for much more quickly and easily,” explains Dr. Mizzi. “This makes the procedure even quicker and more comfortable for our patients.”
Should a woman receive a cancer diagnosis, she can receive treatment in the same building, at the Botsford Cancer Center. The cancer center offers chemotherapy and radiation, as well as a new type of treatment, HDR (high dose rate) brachytherapy. HDR brachytherapy involves placing a small piece of radioactive material directly into a tumor. This process delivers radiation to the tumor without damaging healthy tissue. Botsford’s radiation oncology team started offering this new treatment last summer.
A Comfortable Setting
In addition to state-of-the-art care, the breast center also offers patients comfort and convenience. “Patients seem to appreciate a dedicated breast center and like that it’s not in a hospital setting,” says Dr. Mizzi. “And, the convenience of our location makes it possible for women to come in for an exam with very little disruption to their day. We’re really proud to be able to offer this new technology and equipment to our patients and our community.”
Andrew Mizzi, D.O., is a board-certified radiologist.