Digital Mammography became available at Custer Regional Hospital in April, 2016

“Our purpose is to help patients and communities live well,” said Custer Regional Hospital and Custer Market President Veronica Schmidt. “An annual mammogram is one of the best defenses against breast cancer. We feel very privileged to be able to offer the newest technology.”

Digital mammography became a reality in Custer through the efforts of the Mammo or Bust Task Force, a volunteer committee spearheaded by Joni Hill, Radiology Services Director at Custer Regional Hospital, who was assisted by Schmidt.

The service, which started in April, is the result of the grassroots efforts of Diana Pederson, Patty Ressler, Lindy Manlove, and Sue Swartz in partnership with Regional Health and generous donors from the Custer area. The group tirelessly worked to gather data and raise funds to make digital mammography services available near home.

“While the mammography procedure itself has not changed, the benefits of digital mammography are numerous,” Hill said. The advanced technology produces images that are clearer than standard images, highly detailed, and can be easily manipulated to provide better visibility. Additionally, digital images require less waiting time and reduce the need for retakes due to under or overexposure.

“With digital mammography, the radiologist can magnify the images, increase or decrease the contrast and—more importantly—zoom in for a close up of specific areas of interest,” Hill explained. The electronic images can be easily stored, copied without loss of information, and transmitted quickly across a network, assuring a more streamlined process for referrals.

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, affecting an average of one in eight women. Mammograms enhance early detection of breast cancer as they help to identify changes that might be too small or subtle to be felt. The ACS suggests that most women should receive annual mammograms between the ages of 45 and 54, then screen every two years for as long as they remain healthy or annually if they have the opportunity. Experts say women should continue screening as long as overall health is good and they have a life expectancy of 10 years or longer. Finally, all women should talk to their physician to determine which route is best for them.

Please send your donations to:

Custer Mammography
Regional Health Foundation
P.O. Box 6000
Rapid City, SD 57709
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