CHAMBERLAIN, S.D. (KELO) — In many places in South Dakota, finding direct access for procedures like breast cancer screenings is challenging. But Sanford Health is working to provide more access to screenings.
What used to be a drive to Sioux Falls is now a walk down the hallway for patients here at the Chamberlain hospital.
58 year old Crystal Bely found herself needing to schedule a mammogram for her annual screening.
“I was going to have to go to Sioux Falls for my 3D mammogram. And she said, No, you don’t we can do it here. And I went, I didn’t know this. And so I was able to get it scheduled for the same day,” said Crystal Bely, former patient.
Sanford’s 3D mammography machine was added to the department in July. The 400 thousand dollar machine is capable of taking high-quality images providing clearer pictures for radiologists.
“It really benefits patients with dense breast tissue just helps you get a better mammogram. It is more sensitive, picks up to 40% more breast cancers early on,” said Teri Biggins, radiologist supervisor.
This year, the hospital has scanned around 360 patients. Since this machine was added in August, they’ve done more than 140 scans.
“We service a lot of areas. And so this covers a lot of patients. And a lot of patients that have difficulty finding travel to a different facility to have the services done. So being able to offer it here is huge,” Kala Shepherd, Family Nurse Practitioner.
While Bely has never had cancer, she says having access to screenings gives her peace of mind about her health.
“There’s nothing invasive about this. To me, this is probably one of the easiest tests you can do to make sure that your health is what you would like it to be for yourself and your family,” Bely said.
Radiologist Supervisor Terri Biggins says the screens they take at the Edith Breast Center are examined by the same radiologists here in Sioux Falls.
She says their goal is hopefully get more individuals in for screenings.