By Negar M. Joy
WASHINGTON — The women of Armenia received an early Mother’s Day gift this year from the Armenian American Cultural Association, Inc. (AACA). With a value of more than $1 million, the gift is the latest Three- Dimensional (3D) Digital Mammography System, sent to the Armenian American Wellness Center in Yerevan.
“In March 2012, less than a year after an innovative 3D Digital Mammography technology received FDA approval in the United States, AACA brought this groundbreaking imaging system to Armenia, by acquiring two 3D Digital machines from Hologic Corporation,” said Rita Balian. She is the president and CEO of AACA and founder and co-president of the Wellness Center, along with Hranush Hakobyan, the current minister of diaspora.
Dr. Ani Hakobyan, chief radiologist at the Wellness Center, stated, “This new equipment vastly improves the accuracy of the screening and increases our ability to distinguish between cancerous and non-cancerous cells, thus, detect- ing breast cancer much earlier.”
Thanks to the Wellness Center, Armenia has made tremendous strides over the past 15 years in improving awareness and public education for early detection. By offering women this latest technology, the Wellness Center furthermproves its ability to detect breast cancer at a much earlier stage.
“Another big improvement for the patient is fewer call-backs for additional images,” said Dr. Ann Archer, chair of the US Medical Advisory Board of AACA and the Wellness Center. Archer, a radiologist and a breast screening and diagnosis specialist, was part of the first medical team that traveled to Armenia when the Wellness Center was established in 1997. Ever since, she has traveled to Armenia on many occasions to train the Wellness Center’s medical staff, including during her latest visit in mid- December, when she briefed and prepared the center’s radiologists on the transition from the analog to digital mammography system.