Southcoast Health opens new Fall River Breast Center, upgrades to 3-D mammography

SCH-Breast Center-staff photo

Southcoast Health opened the Southcoast Health Breast Center in Fall River, where all regional services have been integrated at one site.

“We are proud to bring these advances in breast care services to Greater Fall River and the entire region,” said Keith Hovan, president and CEO of Southcoast Health. “It is part of our ongoing commitment to invest in the health of our communities by bringing the very latest in care.”

This $4 million project brings the latest in breast care services — from mammography to surgical consults — in one convenient location on the third floor of the Hanover Building at 235 Hanover Street. The center will offer timely, integrated care that also includes breast ultrasound and bone densitometry.

Southcoast Health modeled the Fall River site after its successful Breast Program in Dartmouth at the Center for Women’s Health, on Faunce Corner Road.  This program has been in place for several years and has produced exceptional results in reducing the time from a positive mammogram to surgery and cancer diagnosis. The excellent outcomes at that site helped Southcoast Health gain certification by the prestigious National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers.

“Studies show that a physician-led, multi-disciplinary team approach to breast care delivers the best results,” said Dr. Maureen Chung, medical director of the Southcoast Health Breast Program. “We have confirmed those studies at Southcoast Health, with our own experience in Dartmouth, and I am pleased that we can replicate that approach in Fall River.”

A staff radiologist will be available at the new center to read all mammograms. The center also has a surgical clinic where patients can meet with a breast surgeon who will coordinate their care with the assistance of a nurse navigator. This model of care provides a seamless approach for all patients who are diagnosed with breast disease.

The new center also uses the latest in mammography technology, tomosynthesis or 3-D mammograms. Unlike standard 2-D mammogram images, the 3-D images provided with tomosynthesis enable radiologists to identify tumors at their earliest stages, when they are most successfully treated.  Tomosynthesis also makes it easier to identify benign abnormalities, reducing the need for patients to return for a second mammogram.

These advances in Southcoast Health’s Breast Program include improvements to the IT system to allow digital transfer of the larger, 3-D images. Support for the project came from the Manton Foundation, Southern New England Radiology Associates and the Charlton Memorial Hospital Auxiliary. Massachusetts Sen. Michael Rodriques also provided unwavering support for the new Fall River center.