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Technology advances in breast cancer screenings lead to early diagnosis

Oct 5, 2023, 6:54 PM | Updated: Oct 7, 2023, 9:39 am

MURRAY – “I never thought it would be me. It was kind of ironic and surreal,” recalls Intermountain Health manager Linda Campbell.

The surreal turned to serendipity when Campbell’s breast abnormality was discovered using a new MRI scanner at Intermountain Health’s Breast Care Center in Murray.

Last year Campbell stood in as a would-be patient in a training video shot at the hospital. Seen preparing for a breast MRI in the video, that same machine would later shine a light on her condition and lead to a rapid and successful treatment.

“It was more like I was donating to science, I was doing my part to build the protocol,” she added. “Five or six months later I’m back in the same scanner, but as a real patient.”

A small abnormality was discovered in the FAST MRI, which led to Campbell soon receiving a lumpectomy to remove the cancerous cells. No mastectomy was needed, chemotherapy was not part of her treatment either. The growth might not have been caught for years, with a traditional mammogram.

“With breast cancer, it’s all about early detection,” says Campbell’s physician Dr. Eugene Kim. Dr. Kim is the medical director at the Murray Breast Cancer Center.

“On her breast MRI we did see an abnormality in her breast that did not show up on her mammogram,” Dr. Kim explains.

She qualified for a FAST MRI because of dense breast tissue and a family history of breast cancer. Once she had the scan, doctors discovered she had early-stage breast cancer which wasn’t noticeable on her mammogram.

Dr. Eugene Kim (Josh Szymanik) FAST MRI Team (Josh Szymanik) Breast Care Center (Josh Szymanik) Linda entering MRI room (Josh Szymanik)

FAST MRI only takes 10 minutes and costs considerably less than a traditional MRI screening. This year, the service has expanded from Intermountain Medical Center to include McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden, American Fork Hospital, and Park City Hospital. FAST MRI is scheduled to be available at Logan Regional Hospital by the end of this year.

“Because my margins were small, they were able to remove it without too much disfigurement.” Campbell knows the significance of the discovery. She works for Intermountain as a process control coordinator overseeing safety protocol for MRI Services.

She’s seen hundreds of women whose breast cancer screenings are far more troublesome. “I can‘t emphasize enough how important early detection is.”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Federal guidelines say women 40 and over should have a mammogram each year.

“We understand women in our community get busy taking care of day-to-day life and we don’t want them to go without this vital screening,” Dr. Kim said.

For that reason, Intermountain Medical Center in Murray is once again open each Saturday in October for mammograms.

Doctors say breast MRI scans won’t replace the need for an annual mammogram because mammograms can still detect some cancers better.

In the United States, one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Survival rates have increased dramatically in recent decades thanks to increase in annual screenings.

To schedule a screening, call 801-507-7840, or visit intermountainhealthcare.org/mammogram

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Technology advances in breast cancer screenings lead to early diagnosis