Doctors in central Iowa are hoping a simple new innovation in mammography will make the process more comfortable for women — and thus spur more of them to undergo the procedure. Dr. Sandra Ruhs says the square “MammoPad” can be placed on the mammography machine to make it feel warmer and softer during the test. She says there’s frequently “negative verbal feedback” from women who’ve had a bad experience with mammograms. She says they complain that the pressure was too tight and their skin was stretched. She says they hope the new cushion will improve the feedback and breast care. Ruhs says the pad answers the comfort concerns. She says it took awhile to develop because they needed to find a material that would not interfere with the scan of the breast. She says with the pad on the flat portion of the machine, women are able to tolerate better compression, which she says gives them a better view of the breast, and helps her get a better view. Ruhs says the evidence shows that mammograms reduce a woman’s breast cancer risk by 60-percent. But she says only 50-percent of the women who should get a mammogram are doing so. She says everyone between the ages of 35 and 39 should get a baseline mammogram and then over the age of 40, women should receive a yearly mammogram. P.J. Brose (broos) is a breast cancer patient who says the first mammogram she had found the cancer — but it was a scary experience. She says it was cold and she was nervous, the machines are large and it doesn’t look like it would be a pleasant place at all. Brose’s most recent mammogram was on a machine using the new pad. She says it’s softer than a mattress and when the breast is in the compression plate, it gives it a relaxing effect. Brose says it was much more comfortable with the pad in place. She says she would even like to see more the machine covered. Dr. Ruhs says the pad has been tested in larger cities and now Mercy Hospital in Des Moines is the first to use it in central Iowa. The pad sticks on the machine with an adhesive backing and a new pad can be used for each patient.
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