New Jones Memorial mammography suite expected to aid in local early detection of breast cancer

Mammography services, which are expected to aid in early detection of breast cancer among both women and men, will be available again next week at Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville, following installation of a new 3D tomosynthesis unit.

Jen Frungillo, left, Jones Memorial Hospital medical imaging director, and Dionne Rifenburg, lead mammogram technician, preview new mammography unit which will be ready for operation next week at the Wellsville facility.

The availability will be part of a new mammography suite at the facility, being placed into operation after several years of sending patients to St. James Hospital in Hornell.

Hospital President James Helms says that although he appreciates the support in recent years of the affiliated Steuben County facility, “together we agree that to maximize early detection (of breast cancer), both facilities need to provide these services.”

Advancements also are being made to the prior service with installation of the tomosynthesis unit, which “improves the ability of mammography to detect early breast cancers and decreases the number of women ‘called back’ for additional tests for findings that are not cancer,” Helms said.

False-positive rates reduced
The National Institute for Health (NIH) reports that “using tomosynthesis in screening increases cancer detection rates and decreases recall and false-positive rates, thus improving the effectiveness of breast cancer screening programs, with positive consequences on health care costs and on patient psychology.”

Tomosynthesis is a three-dimensional mammogram that uses X-rays to obtain sectional images of the breast, it says, which then are reconstructed into a 3D volume, versus prior two-dimensional methods.

“Studies have shown that tomosynthesis finds invasive cancers at a 40 percent higher rate than regular 2D mammograms,” the Wellsville hospital reports, noting the unit also can pinpoint hard to find cancers which otherwise may be unnoticed, particularly in areas of dense tissue.

One-quarter of diagnosed women dying
The State Department of Health, according to Jones, reports that between 2017 and 2019, nearly 25 percent of women diagnosed in the state with breast cancers died from their disease.

Over 35 percent of cancers found, however, were already in late stage when diagnosed, with the new hospital technology intended to improve these statistics through earlier detection.

Although breast cancer is most prevalent in women, one out of 100 cases, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are found in men.

Appointments for the new service can be made by contacting the hospital at (585) 596-4014, with referrals not being required for mammography services, it says.