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Royce Campbell had a breast cancer scare before getting a biopsy using a new technology

Royce Campbell, left, has the Brevera biopsy system to thank for diagnosing that she did not have cancer. With her are registered nurse Joy Bachar and radiologic technician Denise Bogs, right.

Royce Campbell talks about her breast cancer scare like it's no big thing.

Earlier this year, the Highland woman's mammography results came back abnormal. She got a biopsy, and had calcium deposits removed.

They came back negative for cancer.

She was calm and cool throughout the process, in part because she used a new technology said to make biopsies quicker and less unnerving.

The Community Hospital Women’s Diagnostic Center says it was the first in Northwest Indiana to offer the Brevera biopsy system, which removes tissue, readies it for the laboratory and shoots real-time pictures, all in one.

"It was pinpointing the location easier," Campbell said. "It's like a map where it tells you exactly the area where you need to biopsy and exactly where the abnormality is."

With traditional biopsies, the radiologist would leave the room to analyze images and tissue samples, which provoked anxiety among some patients.

"If you're wondering or not sure, your mind always focuses on the bad, not the good," said Suzanne Ruiz, a breast health navigator and supervisor at the Women’s Diagnostic Center.

Community Hospital says the new technology saves each patient 10 minutes and lowers the time of the procedures by as much as 25 percent.

"The sooner we get the results, the sooner our patients get to treatment," said Dr. Mary Nicholson, director of breast imaging services for Community Healthcare System. "Everything we do is designed to decrease waiting and decrease anxiety."

The Women's Diagnostic Center also uses the Affirm biopsy system, in conjunction with 3D mammography. Affirm has no weight limit and allows patients to sit up in a chair rather than on their stomachs, enabling more people to get biopsies.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, affecting 1 in 8 of them. Early detection is key to survival, experts say.

As for Campbell, a 55-year-old case manager with three kids and three grandchildren, she took her close call in stride. She had had another biopsy, which also came back negative, a year earlier. She was asked if she was scared either time.

"Not at all," she said. "Because the big picture is if it was cancer it would be detected early.

"There was a young woman who had the same procedure and was nervou, and I told her I'd had it before.

"It's uncomfortable, not painful. And if there's something there they'll find it early to treat it."


Health Reporter

Giles is the health reporter for The Times, covering the business of health care as well as consumer and public health. He previously wrote about health for the Lawrence (Kansas) Journal-World. He is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.