Many of us skip our routine annual health care appointments due to work and life events. It had been about 18 months since Susan Gray, a busy attorney in San Francisco had her last mammogram. She came in expecting to need an ultrasound but Dr. Harriet Borofsky at Mills-Peninsula Medical Center found an aggressive breast tumor using digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT), also known as 3D mammography.
“When I learned I had cancer, I was beating myself up for not making it in for a mammogram at the one year mark. But it was actually a lucky break because the 3D mammogram technology had not been installed at the earlier date,” Susan says.
Between January and April of 2014 the Women’s Center at Mills-Peninsula installed and accredited all five mammogram machines to DBT technology. Funded entirely by generous donors, this technology has set a new standard of care for the 27,000 women in the community screened each year. Susan’s visit in May 2014, came at just the right time.
“This technology is quite simply THE most important and impactful tool I’ve come across in my professional career,” Harriet B. Borofsky, M.D., medical director of the Mills-Peninsula Women’s Center says. “I’m finding cancers that traditional mammography would have missed, and our call back rate for secondary testing has decreased by 24 percent.”
This success could not have come about so quickly without the vision of our radiology team and their dream to make 3D mammography the only choice at Mills-Peninsula.
A Compassionate Environment
Susan endured more than a year of treatments that included two surgeries, chemotherapy, herceptin and 6 weeks of radiation. She found everything about the Women’s Center to be caring, compassionate and timely.
“Everything moved seemlessly from one phase to the next and I felt I was getting tremendous care,” Susan notes. Susan was impressed by the collaboration between all the physicians. “I never felt lost in the system,” Susan adds. “The integrated approach put me at ease and I truly felt everyone was working together on my behalf.”
“I never considered seeking treatment anywhere else. Many of my friends who survived cancer had already researched where to get the best care and I knew I would be getting the highest quality care at Mills-Peninsula and be close to home.”
A Gift to the Community
Since its inception, the Women’s Center has offered breast health education, screening, and treatment for uninsured and underinsured women in San Mateo County, providing complimentary mammograms and other services to more than 5,000 women through its Community Mammogram Program. DBT will help us to ensure that every woman in our community has access to high-quality imaging services that are sufficiently equipped to identify their cancer when it is small and localized, giving their care team a better chance of halting its progression and potentially saving their lives.
“DBT technology and Dr. Borofsky saved my life,” Susan says. “I will continue to advocate and encourage women to seek out this technology, especially if you are in any high risk group. I am so thankful and grateful to learn that generous donors made this possible at Mills-Peninsula.”