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A Team of Women Designed A More Comfortable Mammograph - And We're Here For It!

4min read
Health

Meet Agnes Berzsenyi, the President and CEO, Women's Health, GE Healthcare who's responsible for driving the strategic and commercial direction for the women's health portfolio, including mammography and bone densitometry. She has been focused on commercial growth, customer collaboration, ensuring the right investment decisions and other strategic programs.


GE Healthcare's new system for mammography creates a better way to detect and attack breast cancer. Designed by a team of women just outside Paris, where most of the design and manufacturing for GE Healthcare's mammography systems is done, the new mammography system will make mammography less uncomfortable and reduce patients' anxiety, with the hopes that more women will get mammograms.

Unlike the clunky, industrial mammography machines of the past, the Senographe Pristina comes with the option for patients to use a wireless remote control that lets them determine how much their breasts are compressed during the scan, with the help of a technologist. This was approved for use in the United States, in September 2017. Compressing the breasts spreads tissue, resulting in better images and requiring less radiation, an industry first: remote-control managed by the patient making the experience more manageable for women.

Agnes Berzsenyi took the time to address questions about the concerns and trepidations of breast cancer screening and detection with SWAAY, and how the Senographe Pristina will help to transform what is too often an anxiety-inducing quandary into an almost spa-like experience:

How will the new system for mammography, designed by a team of women outside of Paris, impact the mammography experience?

Regular mammograms are a critical tool in detecting breast cancer, In fact, evidence shows that finding breast cancer early reduces a woman's risk of dying from the disease by 25-30 percent or more.

Any patient who has ever had a mammogram knows that it can be uncomfortable. We know that one-in-four patients avoid getting mammograms because of the fear and anxiety from the potential result and exam discomfort.

The choice can delay a breast cancer diagnosis negatively impacting their long-term prognosis. Our hope is that by giving women a more active role in their healthcare, coupled with creating a more comfortable mammography experience, we will encourage more women to be compliant with screening guidelines and help improve outcomes for breast cancer screening.

Only 69 percent of women 45 years and older reported having a mammogram within the past two years in 2013, according to the National Health Interview Survey, and according to The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. every 74 seconds, somewhere in the world, someone dies from breast cancer. Might the Senographe Pristina change that?

We do know that one in four women avoid getting mammograms because of the fear and anxiety from the potential result and exam discomfort. The choice can delay a breast cancer diagnosis and impact a long-term prognosis. That's why we brought Senographe Pristina and a more comfortable mammography experience to market. Senographe Pristina and Pristina Dueta have been available in Europe for more than a year. In a patient survey done in Europe with 315 women, when patients received a mammogram on Senographe Pristina while using the Pristina Dueta, 79 percent of the patients who used the patient-assisted compression device found it improved the comfort of their exam, and 54 percent found it led to less anxiety. But even without Dueta, 83 percent of patients scanned on the Senographe Pristina rated their experience as better than with traditional mammography systems, 70 percent noted it was more comfortable and 66 percent perceived the exam was shorter.

How might the Senographe Pristina empower patients and attract, specifically women over 45, to obtain a mammogram?

We developed the Senographe Pristina with insight from thousands of patients, technologists and radiologists. Patients are responding very well to the Senographe Pristina and Pristina Dueta. We're even getting feedback from radiologists and technologists that their patients will only schedule their annual mammogram on the Pristina moving forward. Improving the patient experience has become a major trend in healthcare. Healthcare is a competitive industry and by improving the patient experience, we hope to help healthcare providers get more patients in the door.

How long did it take for the new mammography system to reach the market?

Three years.

How much market share, in the U.S., does GE estimate that the new system will achieve?

We do not disclose our market share, but we've seen tremendous interest in the Senographe Pristina and the patient-assisted compression device, Pristina Dueta, since it was recently FDA cleared. We launched the Senographe Pristina in November 2016 and have doubled shares for the first two quarters.

How often do GE's customers-hospitals, healthcare centers-replace their mammography systems? What's the cost to purchase the new Senographe Pristina?

The average replacement life cycle for Senographe Pristina is 7 to 10 years. We do not share the cost of the product as configurations vary greatly, affecting the price. Depending on the configuration, it can range from $300,000 to $500,000.

What makes the Senographe Pristina system different from previous mammography systems?

Senographe Pristina was designed by a team of women at GE Healthcare who used their unique insights as women, combined with feedback from patients, technologists and radiologists, to design a new, more comfortable mammography system-one that they would want to be scanned on. The new system offers comfort features for a better patient and technologist experience, including: rounded corners instead of sharp edges that used to poke patients' ribs and armpits; a thinner image detector that requires less hard, cold material touching the patient; and comfortable armrests for women to lean on instead of conventional handgrips, naturally creating a more relaxed body and less muscle tension during the exam. All of these features simplify positioning, compression and image acquisition.

Additionally, it offers the option for patients to use the industry's first wireless remote control that lets patients control their own breast compression during a mammogram with the help of a technologist. First, the technologist positions the patient and initiates compression. From there, the patient, under the supervision of the technologist, operates the remote to adjust compression until she reaches adequate compression.

This remote helps to reduce discomfort during the exam, thus addressing one of the main concerns women have for avoiding mammography screening. We've also designed the rooms (sensory suite) to resemble spas: soothing natural images, scents and sounds that are pleasant, which help to further positively enhance the mammography experience.

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This article was republished and first posted on November, 2017

6 Min Read
People

Sneak Peek: Female. Likes Cheese. Comes with Dog: Stories About Dating, Divorce, And Saying "I Do"

Dating. Divorce. Marriage. Being single. None of it is easy.


I don't think any of us have the right answers or know exactly what we are doing when we navigate through relationships or breakups, even if we do take every Buzzfeed quiz there is out there. What I have found out though, is by writing this book, Female. Likes Cheese. Comes with Dog: Stories about Dating, Divorce & Saying "I Do" most everyone can relate to some part of it, whether it is having an awkward date, being dumped, or falling in love. The short stories read as if we are talking over drinks at a bar gossiping about our love life. It's as if, you, reader, are one of my best friends. I hope by reading this book you are reminded that you don't have to be anybody but you and your mistakes are simply memories to learn upon. Get comfy, grab a glass of wine (or your beverage of choice), cuddle with your furry companion (pet or otherwise), and enjoy…

From the chapter "Kansas & The Firepit" from Female. Likes Cheese. Comes with Dog: Stories about Divorce, Dating & Saying "I Do"

I had lost my dog to my ex. I was a mess. I thought this man was going to be by my side the rest of my life, I had gained a lot of weight. Not the kind of weight you gain when you tell your friend "OMG, Kelly, I, like, put on five pounds this summer because of all the partying I've been doing at the rooftop bars," but real weight. The weight that makes you feel totally inadequate. The weight that makes you say, Hey I might as well keep eating because it doesn't matter anymore. I was inconsolable during that summer.

I still wasn't completely out of my trash TV and alcohol phase, but I had switched to vodka, at least. Which, let's be real, just hides the fact that you're an alcoholic. I wasn't really talking to anyone about my problems. My mom tried to take me to fat camp. Yes, fat camp. When your mother says the reason why you're not happy is because you're fat, there comes a point where you really don't know whether to laugh, cry, or drink. I think I did all three. The reason why I wasn't happy was because I was going through a divorce, and my life was unraveling. I was not only unhappy but also fat, so I guess there was some truth to that. It was just what I needed to hear to get myself back to reality.

While cleaning the kitchen one day, I walked by a pair of boxing gloves. Boxing was something I had always been interested in. Watching it on TV and having some friends that had done it professionally, I figured I would take the plunge and put this "body after breakup" into motion.

There was only one boxing club in our area for fitness. I walked into the afternoon classes knowing that I was going to be a little out of my element, but I'm not afraid of a challenge. I'm an outgoing person and being sports savvy, I knew that I would catch on quickly. The guy teaching the class, Kansas, was very attractive. Ladies, you know how in yoga when you have to do the sun god pose? Well, let's just say he was what you would hope a sun god looked like. With sweat glistening down the side of his face, it was almost as if the ceiling parted and angels started singing as he stood over you telling you, "Ten more!" as you got down for ab rounds between punches. This guy was exciting. He was energetic. He was. . . constantly checking on me during class to make sure my form was correct, since I was new, and let's face it—I was totally OK with the attention. After class I signed up for a one-year membership and became addicted, not just because I loved the workouts but also because of the hot trainer.

I started coming to class three times a week, initially taking only Kansas's classes, but not wanting to look obvious when I really started crushing on him, I had to mix it up. I mean, this is Crushing 101. This was my first crush out of the gate post-divorce, so exactly what you think would happen, happened. Kansas became my rebound guy. I would make any excuse to linger after class (which, looking back, just made me look desperate), but then sometimes I would switch it up and leave. I mean, it was a game. I was trying to figure out if he was interested or not. It was exhausting. After talking after class for a few weeks, I happened to mention a home improvement project I had been thinking of working on. Being the good listener (stalker?) that I was, I knew he just happened to be interested in home improvements, as he did many of his own. I figured that would be a great way to get to know each other better and for him to fall completely in love with me, of course. Duh. Now I had a reason to cross something off my "list". I love sitting outside and having a glass of wine and listening to music by a fire. I wasn't really sure how I was going to accomplish this task on my own, but recruiting a fine gentleman like Kansas would be a good start. So, he agreed to my firepit project, and after gathering supplies at Home Depot, he came over, and I quote to you from my journal, I kid you not:

So today he shows up, and we are in the backyard digging the hole, and he takes his shirt off. His body is a wonderland! I mean sweat is just glistening down his torso. So I had to change the subject somehow and shut my gaping mouth, so like an idiot I say, "Oh, look, a callus on my hand," and he says, "Those on a woman are sexy." FML.

Ladies and gentlemen, do you want to know what I did that day? Something so adult and so mature: I pushed him into the dirt. I pushed that beautiful body into the dirt. I couldn't take it. I was like a schoolkid on a playground. Because that is the type of tantrum this lady used to throw. Kansas took it as flirting. I took it as frustration, because I couldn't tell a boy I liked him at the time.

This whole awkward flirting game went on for a few more weeks. Kansas would come over, and we'd dig more holes (to bury my dignity in) or set stones—I don't know. I thought rebound guys were supposed to be fun, casual things, but this wasn't fun at all. This was like homework in school. Every day I'd come home from "class," and I'd strategize on what I needed to do to make better "grades." If I had actually spent half the time in real school that I spent on Kansas, I would've had a 4.0. I was having to chase him, but I almost didn't know what race I was running. After all, I hadn't dated since 1884. So I figured if the firepit thing didn't work, then I'd write him a poem... Like a moron...