Hackensack University Medical Center Celebrates Women’s Health Month by Introducing New, Life-Saving Mammography Technology

Just in time for Women’s Health Month, Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center has introduced new mammography technology that provides women in surrounding communities with access to the latest, life-saving breast cancer imaging technology. The new technology includes:

  • Contrast-Enhanced Mammography (CEM) Contrast-enhanced mammography is an alternative to breast MRI for women at high-risk of developing breast cancer — including women with a personal and family history of breast cancer, genetic mutations, an abnormal mammogram result, concerning symptoms, or other conditions that increase breast cancer risk. 

The imaging test is performed using a traditional mammography machine and combines the benefits of high-resolution 3D mammography with functional imaging performed using a contrast agent. It provides information about a tumor’s blood supply, which improves breast cancer detection and imaging accuracy.

“Breast MRI is a good supplemental screening test for women who are at high risk,” said Gail E. Starr, MD, diagnostic radiologist at Hackensack University Medical Center. “However, some women can’t have breast MRI due to claustrophobia, metal implants such as pacemakers, obesity, inability to lay on their stomach during the test, or insurance issues — and for those patients, contrast-enhanced mammography is a quick, safe, well-tolerated and accessible alternative. Many women at intermediate risk will also benefit from contrast-enhanced mammography.” 

  • SmartCurve™ Mammography Paddles. SmartCurve mammography paddles come in various sizes to conform to the shape of the breast and provide more even compression — making mammograms more comfortable while improving accuracy and reducing false-positive results.
  • New Screening Age. The US Preventive Services Task Force recently shifted their recommendations regarding when to start screening from age 50 to age 40. This significant change of ten years is predicted to save 19% more lives.  Hackensack University Medical Center physicians have been advising patients to start at 40, and continue annually, long before the new guidelines. Breast cancer makes up nearly 30% of new cancers in U.S. women each year, and it’s estimated that 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in the course of their lives. 

“Our goal is to make sure ALL women get screened. Most patients with breast cancer have no risk factors. In addition we want to help women identify and learn about their personal risk factors for breast cancer,” said Dr. Starr. “We also want to create an individual care plan that is designed for their unique needs, and open the door for conversations between patients and their OB/GYN or primary care provider about breast cancer risk.”

Average-risk women aged 40 and older should have an annual mammogram using 3D tomosynthesis technology. Women at high risk for breast cancer should discuss their individual risk factors with their doctor, who may recommend additional imaging tests or starting screenings sooner.

To learn more about breast cancer screening options at Hackensack Meridian Health, visit https://www.hackensackmeridianhealth.org/en/services/womens-health/breast-health.



Hackensack University Medical Center, an 803-bed nonprofit teaching and research hospital, was Bergen County’s first hospital founded in 1888. It was also the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet®-recognized hospital for nursing excellence, receiving its sixth consecutive designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The academic flagship of the Hackensack Meridian Health network, Hackensack University Medical Center is Nationally Ranked by U.S. News & World Report 2022-2023 in four specialties, more than any other hospital in New Jersey. The hospital is home to the state’s only nationally ranked Urology and Neurology & Neurosurgery programs, as well as the best Cardiology & Heart Surgery program. It also offers patients nationally ranked Orthopedic care and one of the state’s premier Cancer Centers (John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center). Hackensack University Medical Center also ranked as High-Performing in conditions such as Acute Kidney Failure, Heart Attack (AMI), Heart Failure, Pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Diabetes and Stroke. As well as High Performing in procedures like Aortic Valve Surgery, Heart Bypass Surgery (CABG), Colon Cancer Surgery, Lung Cancer Surgery, Prostate Cancer Surgery, Hip Replacement and Knee Replacement. Named to  Newsweek’s World’s Best Hospitals 2023 list, Hackensack University Medical Center is also the recipient of the 2023 Patient Safety Excellence Award™ by Healthgrades as well as an “A” Hospital Safety Grade from The Leapfrog Group. This award-winning care is provided on a campus that is home to facilities such as the Heart & Vascular Hospital; and the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, which houses the Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital and the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital, ranked #1 in the state and top 20 in the Mid-Atlantic Region in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2022-23 Best Children’s Hospital Report. Additionally, the children’s nephrology program ranks in the top 50 in the United States. Hackensack University Medical Center is also home to the Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center and is listed on the Green Guide’s list of Top 10 Green Hospitals in the U.S. Our comprehensive clinical research portfolio includes studies focused on precision medicine, translational medicine, immunotherapy, cell therapy, and vaccine development. The hospital has embarked on the largest healthcare expansion project ever approved by the state: Construction of the Helena Theurer Pavilion, a 530,000-sq.-ft., nine-story building, which began in 2019. A $714.2 million endeavor, the pavilion is one the largest healthcare capital projects in New Jersey and will house 24 state-of-the-art operating rooms with intraoperative MRI capability, 50 ICU beds, and 175 medical/surgical beds including a 50 room Musculoskeletal Institute.