Liz Bacom and Renee Hertless stand with Petersburg Medical Center's new mammography machine. Photo/Angela Denning

Liz Bacom and Renee Hertless stand with Petersburg Medical Center’s new mammography machine. Photo/Angela Denning

The new mammography machine at Petersburg’s Medical Center takes much more precise images than the old one and cuts the procedure’s radiation in half. The machine can be viewed at an open house Oct. 9.

Liz Bacom said the new mammography machine was a very good deal. She is the Lab and Imaging Manager for the medical center and said they paid just $37,000 for the machine. A new one would have cost about $180,000. This one had been used in Sitka for a few years.

Bacom said they first learned it was available in April and the board approved the purchase.

“[They were] all very enthusiastic about it, a hundred percent support,” said Bacom, “and after the board approved, the Beat the Odds committee came forward and said we’d like to donate $5,000 towards the purchase so they came in and helped us out and it was warp speed after that.”

The new mammography machine has been in operation in Petersburg for a little over a month now and it’s not just Bacom who is excited about it.

The medical center does 15 to 25 mammograms a month and the person conducting most of them is Renee Hertless. She’s a Radiologic Technologist and she told me that the new technology is making a big difference.

The maker of the mammography machine, Phillips, took the old machine as a trade and the company plans to send it to a third world country.

The Image Center’s open house happens Oct. 9 from 4 to 6 p.m. There is also a 2.5 mile Beat the Odds run-walk Saturday morning to help fund local cancer prevention efforts. The event starts at 9 a.m. at the community gym. Registration starts at 8 a.m.