New mammogram technique a first for Toowoomba

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Medical Imaging Operations Manager Roslyn Farquharson and Team Leader Cassie Montgomery

Medical Imaging Operations Manager Roslyn Farquharson and Team Leader Cassie Montgomery

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Local women now have access to a new type of mammogram procedure, making some breast cancer examinations quicker and easier.

The contrast enhanced mammography device was installed at Toowoomba Hospital to enhance the Diagnostic Breast Service and to have the latest technology available for Darling Downs patients.

Operations Manager of Medical Imaging Roslyn Farquharson said it’s exciting to be able to offer an alternative diagnostic tool for women who have suspected breast cancer.

“This mammography technique works in a similar way to a CT scan, where contrast is injected into the body to make any tumours light up so they can be seen clearer,” Ms Farquharson said.

“The results mimic those of an MRI so it’s really beneficial for people who are claustrophobic or can’t maintain a certain position needed for an MRI scan.

“Women who have used this here at Toowoomba Hospital have told us that it’s a much easier process.

“We had a patient recently who was booked for a breast MRI and it just wasn’t going to work for her, so we did a contrast mammogram to achieve the same diagnostic answers and she was really thankful.”

The exciting new technology has also been an opportunity for radiologists to develop their skills through professional development and training courses.

While the introduction of contrast enhanced mammography has been welcomed by both staff and patients at Toowoomba Hospital, another tool is offering comfort of a different kind.

The Medical Imaging department now has the ability to offer self-compression for mammograms, to support women who may be nervous about the compression during their exam.

Ms Farquharson said the Dueta device helps patients play a role in the process.

“Under the supervision of a Radiographer, women are able to use a remote hand switch to control compression during their Mammogram.

“This can help take away some of the anxiety surrounding the exam and definitely has a positive effect for the patient.

“We know that early diagnosis is key, and we hope that having both of these diagnostic tools on offer will make women feel more comfortable during an often worrying process.”

Anyone concerned about the possibility of breast cancer should talk to their GP.