Congressman hears of breast cancer fighting tools during Trinity visit

STEUBENVILLE – U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson had an opportunity to learn about advancements in the fight against breast cancer during a Thursday stop at Trinity Medical Center East.

Dr. Belon Vargas, radiologist and medical director of breast imaging at Images, explained the differences between 2-D and hologic 3-D mammography to the Marietta Republican.

“There’s a lot of concern and frustration about health care right now, so it’s nice to hear some good news,” Johnson said.

The 3-D technology makes earlier breast cancer detection possible with more detailed images and reduces call-backs by better visualizing masses, distortions or asymmetric densities.

“We are very blessed in this hospital,” Vargas said. “They are very supportive of our efforts.”

Judy Zavatsky, director of imaging services at Trinity, invited Johnson to bring attention to reimbursement codes that Trinity hopes will be passed for 2014. The codes will make it easier for the hospital to purchase a second 3-D mammography machine.

“We were fortunate at Trinity that we moved forward with this before codes were approved, because I know other hospitals won’t do it until it’s more affordable,” Zavatsky said.

Jackie Johnston, mammography supervisor at Images, agreed.

“It’s really important to stay on top of technology, because early detection is absolutely vital,” she explained.