OSMH gets new breast cancer screening technology

The Digital Mammography Suite at OSMH

Patients needing breast cancer screening and diagnosis now have access to a digital mammography suite at Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital.

Unlike film based mammography, the new digital equipment allows images to be viewed at different angles, adjusted for contrast and magnified to make it easier to see subtle differences between tissue. Heather Crate, part owner of Crate’s Lake Country Boats in Orillia, was one of the first patients to receive a screening in the new digital mammography suite. She knows firsthand the importance of having diagnostic imaging equipment, close to home.

“What could be more important for women’s health than having access to this equipment in Orillia,” said Heather Crate. “I lost my younger sister to malignant melanoma 12 years ago. After witnessing her journey, I think it is absolutely critical we are proactive about our healthcare, and this advancement in technology will make that easier for women in our community.”

On top of more enhanced screening, the new digital mammography suite also offers shorter wait times, a more comfortable screening process and reduced radiation when compared to film based.

“Efficiency is key, and comfort is a big bonus,” explained Heather Crate. “Without our health we have nothing, and without early detection we become victims.” Over $525,000 was raised by the OSMH Foundation to purchase the new digital mammography unit. Now fundraising begins for a $175,000 Tomosynthesis machine.

“Tomosynthesis, a three dimensional method that enhances screening in patients with dense breasts, will be the next step OSMH takes in providing an even better level of screening for our patients,” explained David Lafleche, Director, Diagnostic Imaging at OSMH. “For women in the Orillia region, having access to this equipment in their community will make for an easier, and less invasive screening process.”

As part of the Ontario Breast Cancer Screening Program, 2,600 mammograms are completed each year at OSMH. If breast cancers are detected when they are small, the likelihood of successful treatment is very high.