Patients no longer dread mammograms - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Patients no longer dread mammograms

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Tifton- A mini cafe, chic decor, and private dressing rooms. This is what you'll find at Tift Regional Medical Center's new Women's Imaging Center.

"They start at the very front when you walk in the door. There's just no comparison, there's really no comparison to what it was," says Sarah Willis.

The days of glaring lights, cold rooms, and paper gowns are over. Patients at Tift Regional now walk into what looks like a French boutique. They have a private changing room and are even given spa robes.

"Just a new experience for me because I've not been in any situation exactly like this," Willis says.

"Now you don't dread the procedure at all. You're going to be coming in and actually having a few minutes to relax. It will be nice to have some relaxation music going in the background and read a magazine, and you're actually hanging out and you're comfortable," adds TRMC public affairs coordinator Stacey Beckham.

Not only has the atmosphere gotten an overhaul, so has the test. The staff says it's the first hospital in South Georgia to completely scrap the old machines and bring in all new digital units.

"Our total investment to go to the digital mammography was about $1.3 million, so it's a substantial investment," says Radiology Director, Jerry Flannery.

It's an investment the hospital says is well worth it. The new units don't use any film, they provide a more three-dimensional image, and the heated, curved plates make testing more comfortable and pain-free for many patients.

"I won't dread it the next time like I have in the past. I always put it off. I was supposed to have a mammogram last month, and I did not because I was putting it off. But after this experience I'll have them on my regular time," says Willis.

It's a testimony the radiology department says they're hearing on a regular basis and hopefully one that will lead to more early detection and a reduction in the lives lost to breast cancer.

Radiologists say the digital tests are also more reliable and produce clearer images which has reduced the necessity of re-testing for many patients.

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