For every 100,000 women living in California today, 125 will develop breast cancer this year according to the most recent estimates from the National Cancer Institute. For this reason, Riverside Community Hospital provides convenient and comprehensive breast imaging services to diagnose breast diseases in their earliest and easiest to treat stages.
Importance of Early Detection and Mammography
Mammograms are one of the most important health screenings that women ages 40 and older can have. Not only do mammograms detect changes in a woman's breast health well before an abnormal mass can be felt, but the average five-year survival rate for women who are diagnosed and treated early is 98% (where breast cancer is detected in its earliest stages).
While annual mammograms can dramatically increase a woman's chances of overcoming breast cancer if the disease develops, mammography and early detection can also decrease the need for extensive, late-stage breast cancer treatments and allows for improved breast conservation.
A More Comfortable Mammogram
Studies have shown that pain, or the fear of pain, are major reasons some women do not return for annual mammograms. A San Diego State University study found that about 50 percent of women report moderate to extreme discomfort during mammograms.
The Breast Imaging Center at Riverside Community Hospital is among a group of centers across the country taking extra steps to address patient comfort to keep women returning each year for their mammograms. Since 2009, Riverside has offered the "softer mammogram" with MammoPad, a soft, foam cushion that is placed on the surface of the image detector to provide a warmer, more comfortable mammogram. Studies have shown that the technology reduces discomfort by 50 percent in 3 out of 4 women during their mammogram.
"The discomfort many women feel during mammography compression is widely known to be a reason that some don't get regular screenings, as the cold surfaces and hard edges of the mammography machine make the experience uncomfortable for some women. MammoPad helps us create a better, more comfortable experience for women. When a woman has a positive mammography experience, it's more likely she will come back."
- Ayodale Odulate, MD
Radiologist at the Breast Imaging Center
MammoPad is a single-use cushion developed by breast surgeon Gail Lebovic, M.D. that attaches to the image receptor (table) of the mammography device. The radiolucent foam is "invisible" to x-rays and does not interfere with the image quality of the mammogram. MammoPad is also recyclable—once used, the cushions are shipped back to the manufacturer, where they are turned into carpet padding.
Mammography technologists also report that MammoPad makes it easier to help patients relax and position the breast, allowing them to acquire more tissue and even compression for the image – key elements of a good mammogram. By combining the comfort of MammoPad with state-of-the-art digital mammography, which provides high quality breast images and special tools that allow the radiologist to see more detail than ever before, the Breast Imaging Center aims to help clinicians detect breast cancer at the earliest stage possible.
"MammoPad is incredible. As soon as they put my breast on the machine, I noticed the difference. It was warm, it was soft and the compression didn't bother me at all. I've been telling all my friends that they need to have a mammogram with MammoPad. It was a wonderful experience, and I'm not even dreading my next mammogram!"
- Penelope Stueve, Patient who has gotten regular mammograms every year for more than a decade. She had her first experience with MammoPad in March 2010.
Yet MammoPad isn't the only way the Breast Imaging Center addresses patient comfort. The staff strives to create a warm, friendly environment where women feel welcome and supported. Fresh flowers are delivered to the center every Monday, and snacks are available in the waiting room. In addition, the center offers support programs for breast cancer survivors, including the Healing with Hope Breast Cancer Support Group and the Healthy Steps therapeutic exercise class for women dealing with lymphedema following breast surgery.
Convenient Mammograms in Riverside
Riverside Community Hospital's close proximity to Downtown Riverside makes it one of the most convenient places for women to get a mammogram during the work week. On average, screening mammograms at Riverside Community Hospital's Breast Imaging take only 30 minutes with the added convenience of close proximity parking in the new parking structure adjacent to the center. Mammography at Riverside Community Hospital is quick, easy and well worth the time.
"The Breast Imaging Center is a wonderful facility. They play music and give you a snack, and the staff is so nice and helpful. They take care of you and make you feel special. Having a mammogram is so important, and it's nice to have a place where you feel comfortable. I feel blessed that I have the opportunity to come here."
- Patient Lisa Diggs, Patient who has been getting mammograms since the age of 40.
"Women can greatly increase their chances of survival with the early detection of breast cancer, and the best chance for early detection is to have an annual mammogram. We feel very passionate about not letting anything – whether it's financial difficulty or fear of pain – prevent us from catching cancer at its earliest, most treatable stage."
- Ayodale Odulate, MD
Request a mammogram at Riverside Community Hospital by calling (951) 788-3463 or (951) 276-7550.