Ashland Community Hospital now provides a new product that dramatically eases the discomfort many women feel when they get a mammogram.

Ashland Community Hospital now provides a new product that dramatically eases the discomfort many women feel when they get a mammogram. The FDA-cleared foam cushion, called MammoPad, creates a warmer, softer and more comfortable mammogram experience, according to hospital officials

Mammography technologists report that the MammoPad cushion makes it easier to help patients relax and position the breast, allowing them to acquire more tissue and even compression for the image.

The American Cancer Society reports women can greatly increase their chances of survival from the early detection of breast cancer.

The best chance of early detection is to have an annual mammogram, according to hospital officials. Both the society and the National Cancer Institute recommend that women 40 and older receive mammograms yearly, but nearly 40 percent of American women do not get annual mammograms. Studies have shown that pain, or the fear of pain, are major reasons some women do not return for annual mammograms, according to hospital officials.

The discomfort many women feel during mammography compression is one reason that some don't get regular screenings, as the cold surfaces and hard edges of the mammography machine make the experience uncomfortable for some women. MammoPad enables women to be more relaxed during the exam, anxiety and muscle tension are reduced, often making it easier to position the breast and get the best possible image during the exam, according to hospital officials.

MammoPad is a single-use foam cushion that attaches to the image receptor (table) of the mammography device, developed by breast surgeon Gail Lebovic. The radiolucent breast cushion is "invisible" to x-rays and does not interfere with the image quality of the mammogram. Studies of 1,300 women using the MammoPad cushion found approximately 70 percent experienced a significant reduction in pain when the cushion was used, and also indicated an increase in the amount of tissue included in the mammogram image, according to hospital officials.

Ashland Community Hospital is a certified Softer Mammogram Provider, a distinction awarded only to an elite group of healthcare facilities that offer the MammoPad cushion as standard of care. The center hopes to increase the number of area women who follow recommendations for regular screenings.

For more information, call the center at 201-4377 or visit ashlandhospital.org/SectionIndex.asp?SectionID=1028.