New technology allows women to control their own mammograms
A healthcare company has developed a new device that puts women in charge of their own mammograms, making the process a more comfortable experience.
The device, the Senographe Pristina Dueta, will allow women to manage their own compression levels during the exam performed on the company’s mammography system, Senographe Pristina.
Mammograms, a form of medical imaging that uses x-rays to detect and diagnose breast cancer, can be uncomfortable or even painful, and the new device will put some control back in the hands of the patient.
Agnes Berzsenyi, president and CEO of GE Healthcare Women’s Health, a US health technology company, said: “Engineered by a team of women for women, GE Healthcare has transformed mammography with the creation of patient-assisted compression to decrease pain associated with the exam, improve patient experience and increase outcomes for breast cancer screening which we know saves lives.”
In traditional mammography, the technologist performing the exam is the one who controls the compressing of the patient’s breast, often causing discomfort.
With the Senographe Pristina Dueta, after the breast is properly positioned by the technologist, the patient can use the device to adjust the compression paddle of the machine.
Allowing the patient to share control of the compression means they will be able to minimise pain or discomfort, or at least control it, thus enabling them to be more relaxed.
Dr. Kathy Schilling, medical director of the Boca Raton Regional Hospital’s Women’s Health & Wellness Center, and the radiologist who conducted a clinical review of the new tool, said it had opened up “a new age in breast imaging”.
She said: “Patients who used the remote control said the exam was more comfortable and they were visibly more relaxed.
“Any breast radiologist knows that when patients are relaxed we are able to get better images and better images lead to a more confident diagnosis.
“My hope is that increasing comfort during the exam and giving patients the option of working with the technologist to set their own compression will increase compliance, enable early detection and improve outcomes.”
Agnes Berzsenyi added: “No women should miss out on the potentially life-saving benefits of regular mammograms out of fear or anxiety or discomfort.
“Senographe Pristina was designed with empathy. It humanises by increasing comfort and reducing patient anxiety.
“The system’s potential to help increase the number of annual screening exams is a critical advancement in women’s healthcare.”
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Business, women actually compress their breasts more than technicians do, which results in better images and requires less radiation.
This suggests that giving patients control makes the entire process less intimidating and they are therefore willing to undergo more discomfort for the sake of their own health.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, and one person is diagnosed every ten minutes. One in eight women in the UK will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.
Every year, more than two million women have a breast cancer screening in the UK, involving a mammogram, and the NHS Breast Screening Programme invites women aged between 50 and 70 for screening every three years.
If you are younger than 50, your risk of breast cancer is very low, and there is no evidence that regular screening for women below the age of 50 would reduce deaths from breast cancer.