Staff members at the Breast Care Center at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center-Ontario are looking forward to offering this new service to local patients. From left are Sue Lzicar, RNBSN; Betty Kiser, RTRM; Jessica Bates, RDMS; and Dr. Janet Cegnar. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)

ONTARIO – In about six months, patients in Malheur County won’t have to drive into Idaho to access the latest and most accurate in mammogram technology.

A machine providing 3D mammograms is coming to the breast care center at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center-Ontario, thanks to $432,000 in grants and local donations.

This latest technology “detects up to 41% more cancers and reduces cost to patients because it greatly reduces callback rates,” said Sue Lzicar, registered nurse and nurse navigator at the Ontario Breast Care Center.

Mammograms done in 3D provide “slides” of images, allowing for a three-dimensional reconstruction of the breast as opposed to a flat image. The images turn out more clear, and are particularly beneficial for women with dense breast tissue, Lzicar explained.

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Because the images are more accurate, patients are less likely to have to drive back for additional mammograms.

The higher detection rate may also mean improved outcomes for patients, according to Lzicar.

“The smaller we catch it (breast cancer), the greater the chances for recovery,” she said.

Lzicar believes more women will be inclined to go in for check ups, particularly those in rural areas that have less access to care.

Saint Alphonsus Medical Center locations in Nampa and Boise already offer 3D mammography.

The 3D mammogram technology is starting to pop up everywhere, including hospitals in La Grande and Enterprise.

“It’s been a long time coming. All my ladies will have peace of mind knowing they have the most accurate technology available to them,” Lzicar said.

The center in Ontario received a combined $427,000 from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust and a Trinity Health Preserving Our Legacy Grant. An additional $5,000 came from donations through the Saint Alphonsus Foundation.

 “We wanted to make sure that we had the latest technology to keep folks close to home,” said Mark Snider, spokesman for the Saint Alphonsus Health System.

The hospital’s next mission is to get the 3D technology on its mobile mammography unit – a large pink bus that travels to small towns including Vale, Fossil and Nyssa.

The bus will be the beneficiary of this year’s Saint Alphonsus Festival of Trees fundraiser which kicks off in November. The goal is to raise enough money to introduce 3D mammogram technology into the mobile unit.

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