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Women's center puts its services on public display

November 04, 2007|By ASHLEY HARTMAN

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. ? An open house Saturday at the Rhonda Brake Shreiner Women's Center in Chambersburg was designed to raise awareness about women's health issues and give people a chance to tour the center.

"We wanted to give awareness to the community of all the new services we have," said Barbara Constable, director of the center.

The women's center will upgrade its mammogram technology from film to digital next year. Digital mammography is a relatively new technology that is just coming into the market, Constable said.

Both types of mammography take an X-ray of the breast for screening and diagnosis, Constable said.

"If you have a dense breast, digital mammography will allow (the radiologist) to see the layers," she said.

During the open house, visitors were given tours of the mammography unit of the women's center, where women can have regular mammograms, breast ultrasounds and breast biopsies.

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If a mass is found, ultrasounds allow radiologists to look inside the mass to determine whether it is cancerous. The women's center uses new 3-D and 4-D ultrasound technology.

If a mass found in the breast is solid, it could be a sign of malignancy, and a radiologist would recommend a breast biopsy, said Nancy Thomas, supervisor of radiology at Chambersburg Hospital.

Women are advised to begin having regular mammograms at the age of 40, unless there is a family history of breast cancer or if a lump is detected, Constable said.

"If your mom had breast cancer at age 35, you should have a baseline mammogram at 25," Constable said.

Vilia Thrush was one of 75 women to receive a free bone density screening Saturday during the open house. The screening revealed that she might have bone loss.

However, because it was an Achilles unit, which scans the heel, Thrush would need a full body DEXA scan to thoroughly screen for bone loss or signs of osteoporosis, radiologic technologist Angela L. Baker said.

The DEXA scan is uesd to examine the spine and hips. "What the test is for is it's looking at the inside of the bones to determine if there is any bone loss and to what degree," said Baker.

The results of the bone density screening "made me think about it a little bit," Thrush said.

"She's going to have to get the density scan, hopefully soon," said Thrush's daughter, Kelly. "Once you get the (full body scan), you should get more of an idea of how severe or bad it is."

Baker said osteoporosis is considered a silent disease because it typically has no signs or symptoms.

"We want to catch the bone loss at the early stages before you actually break a bone," Baker said.

Bone density screenings are recommended for people older than 50, people who have gone through menopause, smokers, people who weigh less than 125 pounds and those with a history of hip fractures.

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