MHSC: It’s all in the image when it comes to cancer prevention

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By Tracie Soller, RT/RDMS, Medical Imaging Director, Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County

Cancer awareness and prevention information is all around us. We have more information at our fingertips than ever before.

Breast cancer awareness takes center stage next month. But over the years, it has come to include all types of cancer. The Imaging & Radiology Department at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County is ready to help you with prevention and care for not only treating cancers but a wide range of diseases.

Doctors use medical imaging tests to aid in detecting and diagnosing diseases. Some imaging tests such as Mammography, Nuclear Medicine, CT and X-rays use radiation to image the body while others such as ultrasound and MRI do not. The various types of imaging studies are not always interchangeable because they provide different information.

Mammography is helpful in detecting breast cancer. Digital mammography captures images that can be seen on a computer screen. Three-dimensional breast tomosynthesis, a mammography system creating a 3D image of the breast, improves the physician’s ability to detect breast cancer. 

It is clinically proven that the new 3D Mammography Unit at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County delivers a more comfortable mammogram through its SmartCurve Breast Stabilization System. The system delivers an exceptional patient experience without compromising image quality.

Nuclear Medicine helps physicians to find cancer, see how far it has spread, and gauge how well a treatment is working. The process includes a small amount of radioactive material injected into the body which locates specific cells or tissues – including cancer cells – and binds to them. A special type of imaging camera is used to detect radioactive substances. 

MRI: Sweetwater Memorial has the only large-bore magnetic resonance imaging machine in the area.

This MRI offers patients the most comfort of a conventional open-bore system, as well as the high-quality imaging of conventional closed-bore system. It also has a table limit of 550 pounds.

The hospital’s wide-bore MRI has broadened the demographic of patients who can be tested, offering a less claustrophobic feeling than other systems. Our patients tell us how much more comfortable their MRI scan experience is at MHSC compared to other MRI scans they have had.

The MRI uses a powerful magnet and radio waves linked to a computer to create detailed images of areas inside of the body. The images show the difference between normal and diseased tissue.  MRI creates better images of organs and soft tissue than the other scanning techniques such as CT or X-ray.

PET Scan: Positron Emission Tomography scanning can help physicians find cancer cells in the body.  It uses a small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) which is injected into a vein; cancer cells often use more glucose than normal cells. The PET scanner then takes a detailed, computerized picture of areas inside the body where the glucose is being used.

CT Scan: Computed Tomography is a special machine that uses x-ray to create a series of detailed, computerized pictures of areas inside of the body taken from different angles. These images reveal abnormalities in both bone and soft tissues, including organs, muscles, and tumors.  A special material called IV contrast is used for some exams to make the area of the body being imaged easier to see. A special CT scan using low-dose radiation may be used as a screening tool for some people at high risk of developing lung cancer.

X-Rays are the oldest and most often used form of imaging in Medical Imaging. It involves exposing an area of the body to a small dose of radiation to create a picture of the inside of the body.

Ultrasound is a safe and painless way of imaging the body. It uses a high-frequency sound wave which is transmitted through a transducer (probe) placed directly on the skin over the area needing to be imaged. The sound wave bounces off internal tissues or organs and forms echo patterns that are shown on the screen on the ultrasound machine. Ultrasound images are captures in real-time and can show the structure and movement of the body’s internal organs, as well as the blood flowing through the blood vessels.

DXA Bone Mineral Study: Our Hologic Discovery DXA machine gives Sweetwater Memorial the opportunity to provide high-quality bone health assessments by offering two powerful screening tests that can help our patients live longer, healthier, more active lives.

If you’re looking for more information on medical imaging options or cancer prevention/care, look no further than Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County and the Specialty Clinics of Sweetwater Memorial.

When it comes to cancer treatment, the hospital can ensure continuity of care. The Medical Imaging team works closely with Sweetwater Regional Cancer, the General Surgery Clinic of Sweetwater Memorial, and the hospital’s laboratory. We have it all.

For more on our Paint the Town Pink activities and all that Sweetwater Memorial has to offer, go to sweetwatermemorial.com or follow us on Facebook.


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