The Center for Breast Care of Longview Regional Medical Center strives to serve its patients by offering the latest medical technology, including advanced imaging that can detect breast cancer at small sizes.
The Center for Breast Care of Longview Regional Medical Center is an American College of Radiology accredited facility that offers comprehensive breast health services using the latest medical technology offering advanced medical imaging and diagnostic services.
Services include 3D mammography (tomosynthesis breast imaging), breast ultrasound, ultrasound-guided breast biopsies, Automated Breast Ultrasound (ABUS), bone density, computer-aided detection (CAD), needle localizations, ductograms as well as general and vascular ultrasound. The breast center team includes technologists, radiologists and breast surgeons.
“At The Center for Breast Care of Longview Regional Medical Center we strive to make each appointment convenient for our patients by integrating many of our breast services into one appointment at one location,” said Christin Charlton, director of the Center for Breast Care of LRMC.
“These services include mammography and breast imaging, diagnostic procedures, biopsies and treatment consultation. In addition to our imaging services, in 2019 we began offering high-risk patients genetic counseling and testing to ensure each patient understands their options for personalized care.”
Within the last year, the breast center has diagnosed 54 patients with breast cancer, Charlton said.
According to Dr. Christine Moulds-Merritt, medical director of the Center for Breast Care at LRMC, the most common sign of breast cancer is a lump that patients can often feel themselves.
“Often a lump is detected underneath the armpit. Additional skin changes including bloody nipple discharge or changes in shape or texture of the nipple or breast, all can be a sign of breast cancer,” she said. “The best way to find an early breast cancer is by having a mammogram performed annually when the patient might not have any symptoms of an early cancer.”
In addition to traditional mammography, LRMC offers Automated Breast Ultra Sound (ABUS) to patients with dense breast tissue. ABUS was developed to help doctors find cancers hidden in dense breast tissue, which may be missed by traditional mammography.
Almost 40% of women have dense breasts, which means they have more glandular tissue than fat, according to information from LRMC. Dense breasts are more likely to hide lumps or masses when screened with a standard mammogram. Additionally, women with dense breasts are four to six times more likely to develop breast cancer than women who do not have dense breasts, according to LRMC.
The ABUS uses sonic waves to create a 3D photo of the breasts. This is much different from a screening mammogram, which uses radiation to look for abnormalities.
While ABUS does not replace traditional mammography, it can be used in conjunction with it to better diagnose breast cancer in women with dense breasts. The exam takes 30 minutes and gives doctors clear 3D images that they review in addition to the mammogram results. A radiologist will review the ABUS screening along with the mammogram.
For patients who do receive a diagnosis of breast cancer, LRMC offers a range of options, such as lumpectomy and sentinel lymph node biopsy as well as mastectomy with and without reconstruction, said Moulds-Merritt.
“We also offer nipple-sparing and skin-sparing mastectomies and reconstruction surgeries that can be performed for cancers as well as for those patients who are at high-risk due to genetic mutations,” she said.
Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, women should not put off their annual screening mammograms, Moulds-Merritt said.
“We know that breast cancer is more survivable when diagnosed and treated early. Screening mammograms find breast cancer at its earliest stage when it is more treatable,” she said. “I would encourage everyone to try to come to the Breast Center on their usual schedule screening date and not skip a year.”
Charlton also noted the LRMC has taken many precautions to ensure patient safety. Those include screening everyone for COVID-19 symptoms upcoming entering LRMC, mandatory use of face masks and encouraging social distancing in waiting areas.
In addition to encouraging patients to receive a mammogram any time, LRMC is placing special focus on mammography this month. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
LRMC is participating in National Breast Cancer Awareness Month by partnering with MDsave to offer low-cost mammograms and ABUS screenings to all women who purchase the MDsave voucher. The voucher can be used at the Center for Breast Care of LRMC; the voucher is valid for six months from the purchase date. All digital mammograms are reviewed and interpreted by board-certified radiologists.
“We would encourage our East Texas community to make plans to schedule their annual screening exams,” Charlton said. “It is our hope that the discounted prices will serve our community well in promoting self-care and well-being, while allowing anyone regardless of health insurance or not, to make an appointment.”
To schedule a discounted mammogram or ABUS screening, contact the Center for Breast Care of Longview Regional Medical Center at (903) 232-8596.