The recent move of the Women's Imaging Center, from the main hospital campus of the ValleyCare Health System to the medical plaza down the street at 5725 W. Las Positas Blvd. in Hacienda, might have been short on distance, but it will certainly be long on results. Accommodating the latest in digital mammography equipment, the imaging center now shares the same building as the Regional Cancer Center at ValleyCare and the ValleyCare Health Library, consolidating a host of information, diagnostics, and treatment resources in one convenient setting. Designed by women for women, the new facility also presents a "high-touch," relaxed, and soothing environment for its users, many of whom are engaged in a serious fight with disease.
It has been part of ValleyCare's long-range plan to house imaging services, the Cancer Center, which opened last fall in collaboration with Valley Medical Oncology Consultants, and the Health Library in one location, explains Diane Tiernan, director of Diagnostic Imaging at ValleyCare. "We wanted to make it easier for women, especially those dealing with cancer, to access state-of-the-art services along with caring and skilled professionals all under one roof." That vision has now been realized.
Digital technology significantly improves the quality of the mammogram image, particularly in younger women and those with dense breasts. Taking advantage of its higher contrast resolution, the radiologist can zoom in to look for calcifications and other abnormalities that might not be seen easily on conventional films. The mammography process itself does not change, but image verification is almost instantaneous.
"There is no more waiting in the hallway for film to be processed to find out if the image is okay," Tiernan notes. "Initially, some women may be called back for repeat screenings as old film mammograms are compared to digital images, but radiologists agree that digital technology improves the image quality and renders mammography interpretation more accurate."
Inside the imaging center, a spa-like atmosphere, reflected in the choice of wall coverings, furnishings, and color palette, provides an unaccustomed level of comfort. "We have a little more space here than in our former center, and because the facility is new we had the opportunity to create an environment that would be calm and soothing," Tiernan says. "Our mission is to assume a leadership role for the health of the communities in the Tri-Valley. Our new imaging center is a part of that."
With expanded hours to include evenings and Saturdays as needed, the Women's Imaging Center also provides ultrasound services and will soon add DEXA-bone densitometry equipment. To schedule an appointment, call the Diagnostic Imaging scheduling line (925) 734-3376. The ValleyCare Health Library and Ryan Comer Cancer Resource Center, also located at 5725 W. Las Positas Blvd., offer patients access to the largest collection of cancer-related educational materials in northern California and contact with cancer support groups. For details, call 925-734-3315. For more information on routine mammogram screening, visit www.valleycare.com/programs/diagnostic_imaging_services.html#mam .
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