Archived Story

St. Lukes Hospitals Radiology Department passes radiation inspection

Published 3:29pm Monday, November 16, 2009

The St. Lukes Hospital Radiology Department passed a rigorous site inspection and was recognized to be in compliance for both state and federal regulations by the Radiation Protection Section of the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources. This group conducted a radiation safety inspection in regards to mammography services provided at St. Lukes Hospital.

The mission of the Radiation Protection Section is to REAP. Through hard work and perseverance we all REAP the benefits.
Reduce radiation exposure to the citizens and occupational workers of North Carolina; reduce radiation contamination to the environment and to protect all from radiation hazards.
Ensure all licenses and registrants have equal opportunity to comply with applicable regulations through education and guidance.
Attain self-sufficiency through the collection of licensing, registration and inspection fees, grants and the development and implementation of training programs all driven by responsible fiscal accountability.
Provide employment that is rewarding through compensation, education and opportunity.
A radiation protection program is intended to ensure that all activities and operations involving the use of x-rays are performed in such a way as to protect users, staff, patients and the public from exposure to unnecessary radiation. The basis of this plan is to maintain all radiation exposures as low as reasonably achievable.

Mammography services at St. Lukes once again met all standards for radiation safety and that protects our patients and staff.
Regular mammograms have proven to be the single most beneficial tool in detecting early and treatable cancer, says Teresa Marlowe, Director of Radiology at St. Lukes Hospital. It has resulted in a 30 to 35 percent lower mortality rate over the last several years, according to the American College of Radiologists.
And now that we have upgraded to digital technology, a mammogram is even more beneficial. Digital Mammography definitely has advantages for the consumer, Marlowe said. Its quicker, offering a woman the convenience of having her breasts screened without repeated imaging and exposure to radiation. For the radiologist, digital mammograms provide more comprehensive visibility. This translates into a win-win situation for the patient.
Women with dense breasts can certainly benefit from Digital Mammography, Marlowe said, adding that many younger women and those choosing hormone replacement therapy may have dense breasts. For them, screening with Digital Mammography provides better penetration of the breast tissue.
While mammography may not be an exact science, a recent major study showed a 42 percent reduction in the rate of women diagnosed with stage II or higher breast cancer in those who practiced routine screening. If it is caught early and hasnt spread to the lymph nodes, the five-year survival rate is 97 percent, dropping to 78 percent if it spreads locally, according to the American College of Radiology.
Its important that women not put off getting a mammogram. All women over 40 should be getting screened annually, stresses Marlowe. The American College of Radiology recommends that women should not postpone getting a mammogram. Even with digital capabilities, a mammogram can be uncomfortable, even painful for some women.
To dramatically decrease discomfort, St. Lukes uses the Womans Touch MammoPad. The MammoPad, attaches to the compression plates of the mammography device and provides a softer, warmer mammogram.
Early detection is the key to surviving breast cancer, so never put off a mammogram. To schedule your mammogram with St. Lukes Hospital, please call 894-3525, ext. 3590.
With successful survey inspections and digital mammography, St. Lukes Hospital will continue to provide exceptional care, close to home.

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