Making Mammograms Safer and More Comfortable - 8 News NOW

Making Mammograms Safer and More Comfortable

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LAS VEGAS -- We often focus on high-tech breakthroughs for breast cancer treatment. But recently, we found a couple of low-tech innovations that will make a big difference for women.

At St. Rose Siena Hospital, mammogram technician Mary De Wan is well aware that a woman who has a bad experience with a first mammogram might not return as often as she should and that could endanger her life.

That's why the new Bella Blanket is such a welcome addition to the mammogram routine.

"Putting your breast on the plate is kind of a shock and then you put the blanket down and it's oh kind of like a warm bath feeling," said De Wan.

The biodegradable Bella Blanket eliminates that first shock of cold without compromising the image. It's not covered by insurance but St. Rose provides it free for every mammogram.

Dr. Steve Zwerdlinger showed us another type of pad. This one's not for comfort but for protection. During a cat scan, breasts can be overexposed to radiation. "When you have a cat scan, it causes something called scatter radiation even if you a cat scan of the pelvis, the scatter radiation can potentially affect the breast," said Dr. Zwerdlinger.

The breast pads help lower the risk that unwanted radiation that might cause breast cancer. Dr Zwerdlinger also explained that breasts are more susceptible than other parts of the body.

"They're basically an organ of the skin and so they have no bones or other organs that would prevent the radiation from reaching the breast tissue. It's also highly metabolically active tissue."

These two small, low-tech inventions help the patient by making mammography more pleasant, and by preventing harm.

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