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Regional Breast Center Opens with Official Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

St. Luke's Regional Breast Center Opens

St. Luke's Performs All-Digital Mammography Network-wide

St. Luke's has created a state-of-the-art breast care facility that is specifically designed for patients who need diagnostic, or higher-level, mammograms. The new site contains all new digital equipment from GE with the most advanced computer-aided software to help in diagnosing breast anomalies. The flagship diagnostic center called St. Luke's Regional Breast Center is located on the second floor at 5848 Old Bethlehem Pike in Center Valley, Pa.

“Diagnostic mammograms are needed by approximately 1 in 10 of all women – many of whom have a family history of breast cancer or other breast issues that need closer scrutiny and monitoring,” said Joel Fagerstrom, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of St. Luke's Hospital & Health Network. “The concept and services at St. Luke's Regional Breast Center has been developed with these patients in mind.”

Screening mammograms will continue to be conducted at other St. Luke's sites – diagnostic mammograms will be performed only at the St. Luke's Regional Breast Center.

In addition to offering the best imaging equipment anywhere from GE, St. Luke's Regional Breast Center provides the following services for patients:

  • All diagnostic mammograms and ultrasound
  • All breast procedures (including biopsy)
  • Same day breast ultrasound with biopsy

With the creation of the St. Luke's Regional Breast Center, digital mammography will be offered at all of St. Luke's locations, which means patients' tests will have the highest overall image quality available anywhere. The creation of a diagnostic center is the “gold standard” in the breast imaging field, and St. Luke's is a true international leader in this industry, said Hal L. Folander, MD, Chief of the Department of Radiology, St. Luke's Hospital & Health Network. Additionally, St. Luke's Radiology Department worked with a focus group to help create a patient-focused center of excellence where women feel nurtured and comfortable.

“With the St. Luke's Regional Breast Center open for barely more than a month, the Center has conducted 800 diagnostic mammograms, more than 550 ultrasounds and 93 breast biopsies – with one-fourth of those biopsies conducted the same day as the patient's mammogram,” said Dr. Folander.

“The number of women taking advantage of same-day biopsy procedures is part of the reason why the St. Luke's Regional Breast Center was created,” said Joseph P. Russo, MD, Section Chief of Women's Imaging at St. Luke's Hospital & Health Network. “Reducing some of the anxiety and easing the worries of our patients is of utmost importance to the staff at the Regional Breast Center.”

The new Center has advanced-trained mammography and ultrasound technologists and the best digital technology available today, said Dr. Russo. In addition, radiologists who are fellowship-trained in diagnostic mammography read patient images and provide each patient with verbal results before she leaves the facility.

With full-time nurse navigators and nurse assistants, patients receive plenty of support through appointments and follow-up care, Dr. Russo advised.

Jill Spear, GE's General Manager of Women's Healthcare said, “GE's commitment to women's health has been a long one. GE Healthcare was the first vendor to offer analog and now, digital, mammography. This move to digital mammography will enable the physicians to best read mammograms of dense breast tissue and enable computer driven tools to aid in reformatting and reading those images… As a patient, you and your families can be confident that you are being imaged on the best and most advanced mammography technology available in the industry. “

With diagnostic mammography housed in the St. Luke's Regional Breast Center, St. Luke's screening mammography locations have additional space to refurbish and renovate to better accommodate patients. In fact, St. Luke's Hospital – Allentown Campus's women's imaging has moved to a new site at 1901 Hamilton Street in Allentown.

Some of the upcoming renovations at the screening mammography sites will include more private changing rooms, new carpeting, wallpaper and seating to provide an atmosphere of serenity to put patients at ease, said Dr. Russo. Ultimately, more appointments will be available for diagnostic and screening digital mammography, the breast nurses will be available so radiologists will be able to conduct more procedures, and patients will have a shorter wait time for appointments.