Caren Greenstein, MD, Director of Breast Imaging at White Plains Hospital, discusses the importance of continuing women’s imaging screenings during the COVID-19 pandemic and the advanced breast imaging capabilities available through the hospital’s Women’s Imaging Department.
Q How can postponing routine imaging exams, such as screening mammograms, threaten women’s health?
A: During the pandemic, we’ve seen women delay their mammograms and other breast imaging, but breast cancer hasn’t taken a break. Early detection saves lives. Studies have demonstrated an up to 40% decrease in breast cancer mortality due to screening. With screening exams, we can find breast cancers two to seven years before a palpable lump forms. That makes these cancers much easier to successfully treat before they increase in size and spread to other parts of the body.
At White Plains Hospital, we follow the American College of Radiology’s breast cancer screening guidelines, which state that women at average risk should begin annual screening at age 40, and all women should undergo a risk assessment at age 30 to determine whether they are high risk and should begin even earlier. Remember, the only people at low risk of developing breast cancer are men! If a woman is putting off breast cancer screening, has felt a lump or experienced symptoms, it’s important to get checked now.
At White Plains Hospital and our outpatient radiology sites, we have a top-notch team, with most of our staff and technologists specifically and only performing breast imaging. We’ve taken extra precautions following COVID-19 to ensure our patients’ safety, such as socially distancing our waiting rooms at all four Women’s Imaging Department sites and adding evening and weekend hours to reduce or eliminate wait times. We also thoroughly sterilize equipment and rooms between every patient. Medical facilities like ours know best how to keep patients safe.
Q White Plains Hospital offers 3D mammography. Who is a good candidate for it and how do patients benefit from it?
A: We offer 3D mammography to every patient because every patient can benefit. With its increased sensitivity, 3D mammography detects more cancers plus decreases the number of false positive results and unnecessary callbacks compared with 2D mammography. We have 3D mammography capabilities at each of our four locations.
Q What other advanced breast imaging services are available at White Plains Hospital?
A: The Radiology Department at White Plains Hospital and the Breast Imaging Center have been awarded the highest level of achievement by the American College of Radiology, and are certified as Diagnostic and Breast Imaging Centers of Excellence. White Plains Hospital is among the top 8% of facilities nationwide to be recognized by the American College of Radiology for its outstanding quality of imaging care to its patients.
In addition to 3D mammography, we perform standard and automated breast ultrasound, offered to all patients with dense breast tissue because these women have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. In addition, it’s more difficult to see through their breast tissue with mammography. For high-risk women, we also encourage breast MRI, which takes approximately 1,000 detailed pictures of the breast — many more than other modalities. Furthermore, if we see anything abnormal on a mammogram or sonogram, we can perform a biopsy, sometimes during the same appointment. Minimally invasive, image-guided breast biopsy is available at each of our locations.
Q How is White Plains Hospital enhancing its breast imaging services?
A: We continue to add new capabilities to improve care and increase comfort for patients. These include SAVI SCOUT, an implantable, infrared seed for precise breast cancer localization prior to surgery. SAVI SCOUT is an alternative to wire localization, and it’s been quite popular with our patients. We’ve also added new software that helps our technologists evaluate breast positioning and compression during mammograms so the exam is more comfortable for patients while still producing effective images. Next summer, we’ll be opening an even larger, comprehensive state-of-the-art breast imaging center as part of the new White Plains Hospital Center for Advanced Medicine & Surgery, in order to continue to provide our patients with the latest available leading-edge technology.
To learn more about White Plains Hospital imaging, visit wphospital.org/imaging.