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Presbyterian Hospital of Kaufman Now Offers Digital Mammography
01/21/2008

KAUFMAN, Texas – For Rockwall resident Jeanette Gibson, a digital mammogram simply means better peace of mind.

Gibson, a longtime respiratory therapist at Presbyterian Hospital of Kaufman, recently had her first digital mammogram at the hospital.

“I could actually see the veins and fibers of the muscles,” Gibson said. “I was just stunned by the difference between the old films and the new ones. The old films always looked like cotton candy to me. The improvement in the image is absolutely incredible.”

The rate of breast cancer incidence is slightly higher in Kaufman County than in other Texas counties, according to the Centers for Disease Control. An average of 56 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in Kaufman County, which has a total estimated population of 93,241.

Younger patients with dense breasts – like Gibson – benefit significantly from digital mammograms, according to a study by the National Cancer Institute. The study revealed that digital mammography was significantly better at diagnosing cancer in women under 50 and in women of any age who had very dense breasts.

Digital mammography also provides for easier storage and transmission of images because the “pictures” can be stored and sent 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 have had a great response so far from patients who have been getting mammograms for years and really can see the dramatic difference in the image,” said Kathy Ehrenberger, a mammographer at Presbyterian Hospital of Kaufman.

Film mammography has been used for more than 35 years, but has shown to be less sensitive for women who have dense breasts. Studies have shown that approximately 10 percent to 20 percent of cancers detected 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 still another 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 Presbyterian Hospital of Kaufman President Patsy Youngs. “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 Presbyterian Hospital of Kaufman
Presbyterian Hospital of Kaufman is a member of the Presbyterian Healthcare System and Texas Health Resources. Texas Health Resources is the largest non-profit, faith-based health care organization in Texas. The system was formed in 1997 with the merger of Presbyterian Healthcare System in Dallas, Harris Methodist Health System in Fort Worth and Arlington Memorial Hospital. The system includes 13 acute care hospitals with more than 18,000 employees and 5,000 physicians with privileges on its medical staff.

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.

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