James Team Making Mammography Excellence More Accessible

Patient and Mammogram Machine

At our centers and on the road, The James mammography team provides innovative services to women in central Ohio and beyond.

“Multiple studies have shown that screening saves lives by catching breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat and before it metastasizes and spreads to other parts of the body,” says Mitva Patel, MD, a radiologist who specializes in breast cancer screenings at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James).

The OSUCCC – James provides a multitude of breast cancer prevention services for women in Columbus, the surrounding suburbs and as far away as the Appalachian region of southern Ohio and into West Virginia through the utilization of mobile mammography units.

Expert Care Throughout Central Ohio and Beyond

There are currently nine OSUCCC – James facilities that offer breast cancer screenings, plus two mobile mammography units that travel across Ohio and West Virginia—and more locations are on the way.

"We are planning to add new satellite locations around the suburbs of Columbus in the next few years,” says Heidi Basinger, MS, BSN, RN, NE-BC, the director of nursing for women’s health at the OSUCCC – James. “The goal is to increase access and make it easier for patients.”

For patients who find travel to or within the Columbus area difficult or prohibitive, the mobile units take high-quality mammography services on the road.

“We work with our marketing team and (The Ohio State University) Center for Cancer Health Equity to find underserved areas where women may not have access to mammograms,” says Noel Huber, the manager of breast imaging services at the OSUCCC – James.

“We recently received a Komen grant and were able to increase the number of our visits to the Appalachian region this past year up to 49,” Basinger says.

The current central Ohio facilities are:

To schedule your James mammogram, please call 800-240-4477 or visit your Ohio State MyChart account at mychart.osumc.edu.

*Departments of Ohio State University Hospitals

The Importance of Specialists

“At the OSUCCC – James, we have a team of subspecialized radiologists who focus only on breast imaging,” Patel says. “At some smaller hospitals or community hospitals, it may not be feasible for radiologists to focus on a subspecialty.”

All eight of the breast radiologists at the OSUCCC- James read only breast images and are fellowship-trained in this specialty. Studies have shown that fellowship training in breast imaging leads to greater sensitivity and accuracy.

This type of training and experience is vital, as dense breast tissue can make images harder to read. Patel and her expert colleagues know when to request additional screenings such as MRI, whole-breast ultrasound or digital 3D/tomosynthesis.

“We’re one of the largest breast centers, and every day, people travel from near and far for screenings or to get a second opinion,” Patel says, adding that interactions with patients motivate and inspire her.

The Best Technology

Dense breast tissue can appear as white on a mammogram, “and because the tumors are also white, there’s a masking effect within dense breast tissue,” says Amy Kerger, DO, a breast cancer radiologist at the OSUCCC – James.

To address this problem, The James has become a leader in the use of digital 3D/tomosynthesis machines, which utilize a relatively new imaging procedure that can unmask these hidden tumors. Using the “tomo,” Kerger says she can click a mouse and change from standard 2-D into 3-D, which moves and rotates from the top to the bottom of an image of a patient’s breast.

“I can see the tissues and ducts changing,” Kerger says, adding that she’s able to change the speed in which the image rotates in order to focus on one specific area. “We can see through the dense tissue a lot better and decrease the masking effect.”

Patel, Kerger and their radiologist colleagues are often among the first to meet patients during screenings at the Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Center.

“I hope my positivity and compassion makes their journeys a little easier,” Kerger says. “I want to help women catch breast cancer early and go on to lead long and productive lives.”