Mid-Columbia Medical Center Now Offers 3D Mammography Thanks to Grant From M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

State-of-the Art Diagnostic Tool Provides Better
Breast Cancer Detection at its Early, Most Treatable Stage

(THE DALLES, OR. – Nov. 12, 2019) — Mid-Columbia Health Foundation has received a grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust of Vancouver, Washington, for the purchase of a 3D mammography system, the best diagnostic tool available to detect breast cancer. Mid-Columbia Medical Center (MCMC) is the only breast center of excellence in the Columbia River Gorge.

Known as digital breast tomosynthesis, or DBT, this new system now available at MCMC takes images from several different angles to create a three-dimensional picture of the breast. With this technology, radiologists and physicians can better detect possible abnormalities in the breast at an early stage when they’re easier to treat.

“Mammography remains one of the best tools available for detection of breast abnormalities and we have come a long way in what technology can now do for us,” said MCMC Chief Medical Officer Serene Perkins, M.D. "We are grateful for the Murdock Trust’s support and commitment to making sure that we are able to provide the very best breast cancer screening options to women in our community.”

With 3D mammography, the images taken are converted into a stack of very thin layers, or “slices,” allowing a radiologist to evaluate the breast layer by layer. This greater accuracy means better breast cancer detection and a reduced chance of being called back for additional testing. A number of studies have found that 3D mammograms increase detection of invasive breast cancer by 30-40% compared to traditional mammography, while also reducing the number of false positives.

On average, a 3D mammography examination lasts for a few minutes unless additional views or exams are required. After the exam, the images are read by a MCMC radiologist who provides results to the patients and referring physicians. If an abnormality is detected, other examinations will be necessary to get the information needed for an accurate diagnosis. Such exams could involve ultrasound, MRI and/or a breast tissue biopsy.

One in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Mammography is designed to provide early detection of breast cancer and is an important part of routine healthcare. Yearly mammograms are recommended starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health. For further information or to schedule a mammogram, call MCMC at 541-298-4000.

The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust (murdocktrust.org), created by the will of the late Melvin J. (Jack) Murdock, provides grants to organizations in five states of the Pacific Northwest—Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington—that seek to strengthen the region’s educational and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways. The Trust’s history of supporting Mid-Columbia Health Foundation dates back to 2008 when MCMC was awarded $250,000 to bring its diagnostics department from a film to digital base. The Trust stepped up again in 2015 with a grant of $130,000 to help fund MCMC’s Breast Health for Strong Families program.

“I am incredibly grateful for our relationship with the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust,” said Celeste Hill-Thomas, Executive Director of Outreach, Communication and Foundation at MCMC. “Having their support over the years has allowed us to elevate the level of care provided in our service area. 3D Mammography is not something you find at every rural hospital.”

Founded in 1901 and located in The Dalles, Mid-Columbia Medical Center is a nationally recognized hospital dedicated to serving residents of The Dalles and its surrounding communities. In 1992 MCMC became the first hospital in the nation to integrate the Planetree philosophy of patient care, which emphasizes the need to address a person’s intellectual, environmental, emotional and spiritual concerns in addition to their physical needs. As a Planetree hospital, MCMC works to provide a caring, nurturing and educational environment; puts great efforts into humanizing and demystifying the medical experience; and strives to empower people to become active partners in their own healthcare. For more information visit mcmc.net.