When you schedule a mammogram, you hope the experience will be as pleasant as possible. After all, you are taking a proactive role in early detection of breast cancer. You also want to know that your results will provide the clearest picture possible; no one wants to get the call that you need to go in for a second look. 3D mammography, debuting at Prowers Medical Center in just a few weeks, will accomplish these benefits and more.
Benefits of 3D
The 3D mammography platform allows for excellent visualization of any breast lesions, delivering not only superior diagnostic accuracy but also the lowest patient radiation dose of all FDA-approved Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (DBT) systems. Research shows that 3D mammography in combination with standard digital mammography raised cancer detection rates by more than 40 percent. It has been described as a “CAT scan of the breast,” as it takes several X-rays at different angles to create a 3D image.
3D mammograms have been found to generate fewer callbacks and false alarms than the standard version. According to the American Cancer Society, only 10 percent of callbacks end up with a cancer diagnosis. Yet getting that call that you need a follow-up diagnostic mammogram, ultrasound or biopsy can be frightening. Suspicious findings are often non-cancerous tumors, cysts or dense breast tissue.
3D mammograms are good news for women with dense breast tissue. Because both dense tissue and cancer appear white on the image, 3D technology’s multiple angles help provide a more precise view, making images easier for radiologists to decipher.
3D mammograms are also helpful with fibrocystic breasts — a condition in which breast tissue feels lumpy, thick and sometimes painful, especially right before or during a menstrual period. The Mayo Clinic states that half of all women experience some fibrocystic changes at least once in their lifetimes. As with dense breast tissue, fibrocystic lumps and bumps can skew results on standard mammograms—less so with 3D.
Improving the Mammography Experience at Prowers Medical Center
The Senographe Pristina 3D Mammography machine has been purchased and is being installed at Prowers Medical Center on or about December 24. The current mammography room has closed and will reopen with a new look and the 3D mammography equipment.
In addition to the diagnostic benefits, the new machine has gentle, rounded edges that reduce discomfort and may also help reduce anxiety for patients. Soft armrests have replaced the typical hand grips. Patients can lean comfortably on the armrests, relaxing their muscles to simplify compression and image acquisition.
The 3D machine also includes specialized paddles, such as the flex paddle, which can tilt to adapt to varying body shapes, and an implant paddle specifically for patients with breast implants or small breasts.
“Our time has come,” said Tina Sandoval, Prowers Medical Center’s Chief Clinical Officer. “While we’ve had a mammography unit for many years, the patient experience has not been optimal. Our new room will feel warm and inviting, giving the patient a more comfortable and confident experience.”
According to the American Cancer Society, women with an average risk of breast cancer should begin yearly mammograms at age 45. It’s always a good idea to talk to your health-care provider about your personal risk factors and when you should begin screening.