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Memorial Hospital Now Offers a Softer Mammogram

Memorial Hospital of Union County in Marysville, Ohio announces the introduction of a new product that dramatically eases the pain that many women feel when they get a mammogram.

The FDA-cleared foam cushion, called the Woman’s Touch MammoPad, is designed to provide a softer, warmer mammogram. By making it more comfortable to get a mammogram, the hospital hopes to increase the number of women complying with recommendations for regular screenings.

"The discomfort that many women experience during mammography is widely known to be a reason that some don’t come back as often as they should, or at all," said Charles Muncrief, DO, radiologist at Memorial Hospital. "Many women report that the procedure can cause painful compression, pinching and skin stretching. The cold surfaces and hard edges of the mammography device can make the experience even more uncomfortable for some patients."

"The MammoPad answers these complaints by cushioning the breast during mammography," explains Dr. Muncrief.

A single-use, adhesive-backed foam cushion, the MammoPad attaches to the compression plates of the mammography device. It was developed by Stanford University breast surgeon Gale Lebovic, M.D., who understood mammography discomfort from both a physician and patient’s point of view. The MammoPad not only provides a soft, warm surface for breast positioning, but also helps lessen skin pulling.

The MammoPad is "invisible" to x-rays and does not interfere with the image quality of the mammogram. Made from a proprietary material, the MammoPad is also free of image-clouding artifacts.

"At Memorial Hospital we’re dedicated to offering optimal patient care. We understand the discomfort some women experience with a mammogram and we want to do what we can to minimize the discomfort for our patients," Dr. Muncrief provides.

A new analysis by the American Cancer Society demonstrates that women can reduce their risk of death from breast cancer by more than 60 percent if they receive regular mammographic screens. For this reason, both the society and the American College of Radiology recommend that women 40 and older receive mammograms yearly.

Yet despite the urgency of this message, compliance with the recommendation is lower than expected. Numerous studies have shown mammography pain and discomfort to be a major reason that women do not return for annual screening.

The new foam cushion could help reverse this trend. The MammoPad has been clinically proven in both the U.S. and Sweden, where clinical evaluations in more than 1,300 patients found more than 70 percent experienced a significant reduction in pain when the pad was used, Dr. Muncrief noted.

"Early detection of breast cancer can make the crucial difference between life and death," said Dr. Muncrief. "Mammograms identify lumps that a woman’s self-exam wouldn’t find until an average of 1.7 years later. That is why regular mammograms are the only scientifically proven way to reduce breast cancer mortality. I am excited that the MammoPad removes a major barrier to women receiving this important procedure."