3D Mammography Offered at Chilton Medical Center
Imagine a mammogram that allows physicians to examine breast tissue in a whole new way – one layer at a time. A mammogram that is so accurate it detects up to 30 percent more cancers while dramatically reducing patient callbacks. A mammogram that is so reliable it has the potential to save more lives than ever before.
3D mammography, or breast tomosynthesis, is regarded among experts as the first major advance in breast imaging and breast cancer screening since the development of breast MRI. “This breakthrough vastly improves our ability to find smaller cancers, while also diminishing the need for additional testing,” stated Lisa Bash, MD., medical director of Chilton’s Breast Center. “It has the potential to change how women receive mammograms and doctors diagnose breast cancer.”
Performed in conjunction with traditional digital mammography, breast tomosynthesis utilizes an X-ray machine that moves over each breast, in an arc, to capture multiple angles. The high-resolution images are then viewed individually as one millimeter “slices” and in rapid succession to produce a three-dimensional reconstruction of the entire breast.
“This technique eliminates the visual obstruction of overlapping breast tissue, allowing us to see details with greater clarity and to identify tiny masses or subtle abnormalities that may have been missed with conventional mammography alone,” explained Dr. Bash.
Mounting evidence suggests that 3D mammography, used in combination with standard mammography, significantly improves breast cancer detection rates while finding cancers earlier and more accurately pinpointing the size, shape and location of abnormalities. The test also increases the likelihood of detecting multiple tumors, which occur in 15 percent of breast cancer patients.
Another major benefit of 3D mammography is a substantial reduction in false-positive results – which means fewer patient recalls and fewer diagnostic tests. “That can make a huge difference for our patients, alleviating the stress and anxiety associated with multiple visits and offering greater peace of mind,” asserted Dr. Bash.
3D mammography is valuable for both screening and diagnostic mammography. The FDA-approved technique is safe and non-invasive, adding mere seconds to the length of a standard mammography procedure with a single radiation exposure.
“Early detection is still the best weapon in our fight against breast cancer,” she stressed. “3D mammography will help us diagnose cancers sooner, when patients have the best possible chance for successful treatment and cure.”
The American Cancer Society recommends yearly screening mammograms for all women starting at the age of 40, or earlier for those at higher risk due to genetic tendency, family history and other contributing factors. It is important for each individual to discuss these guidelines with a physician to develop a personal breast health plan.
For more information about 3D mammography, or to schedule a mammogram appointment at Chilton’s Breast Center, please call 973-829-7935.