Latest weapon in cancer battle

STEUBENVILLE – The Jeffererson County Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours event Thursday offered an opportunity to learn about and celebrate Trinity Health System’s latest weapon in the battle against cancer.

Staff members with the hospital’s Images Mammography Center were on hand to show visitors new equipment that will provide better images with which to detect breast cancer at its earliest stages.

The equipment employs digital tomsynthesis breast imaging, a process that provides three-dimensional images that are clearer and more detailed than the two-dimensional views offered by older technology.

It also enables staff to view thin sections of the entire breast, similar to a Computed Tomography, or CT, scan.

“It enables us to see all through the breast, from top to bottom and side to side,” said Jackie Johnston, mammography supervisor for Trinity Health System.

She added the process also reduces the occurrence of tissue overlap, which can conceal cancer.

“It’s so much clearer and definitive in its diagnostic capabilities,” said Fred Brower, president and chief executive officer of Trinity Health System.

Brower said the procedure is a relatively new development in the battle against breast cancer.

Judy Zavatsky, director of imaging services for Trinity Health System, said the center also will extend its hours, beginning Monday, to make screenings more accessible to working women.

Located at Trinity Medical Center East at 380 Summit Ave., the Images Mammography Center will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; and 7 a.m. to 2:50 p.m. on the second Saturday of most months.

The Images Mammography Center is staffed by three radiologists, Dr. Belen Vargas, Dr. Jeff Clark and Dr. Jacob Brown; and registered nurse RoseAnn Piofer, whose role as a certified breast patient navigator involves assisting each patient with diagnostic services and procuring surgical and oncological consultations when needed.

Zavatsky said the physicians work closely with their patients to ensure consistent, quality care.

“Each diagnostic patient sees me or one of my colleagues,” said Vargas, who was among staff members who led chamber members and guests on tours of the facility.

Vargas said Trinity Health System makes a variety of breast cancer-related services available locally through its east and west locations.

She said the new equipment will improve the ability to detect breast cancer early, which greatly increases a patient’s survival rate.

Johnston said in addition to being accredited by the American College of Radiology, the Images Mammography Center has been named a Certified Breast Cancer of Excellence by the National Quality Measures for Breast Centers, an initiative of the National Consortium of Breast Cancers.

She noted that Piofer helped the center to earn that distinction by submitting data collected over a three-year period.

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