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Convenient treatment under one roof

Mammograms are an extremely important component of early detection for breast cancer. Advancements in research and technology continue to improve this essential screening tool. The latest improvement, 3-D mammography, is now available in West Texas at the Shannon Women's Imaging Center.

Digital breast tomosynthesis, or 3-D mammography, uses the same x-ray technology as traditional, or 2-D, mammography. A two-dimensional image is captured with traditional mammography. Three-dimensional images allow the breast tissue to be viewed in thin layers, or "slices." The layers allow miniscule details to be more readily exposed instead of possibly being hidden by overlapping breast tissue, particularly in patients with dense breasts.

Proof it's better

Numerous research studies have found an increase in earlier detection of breast cancers when these two screenings methods are combined.

"Traditional mammography is still one of the best screening tools available," says Michelle Snuggs, MD, Chief Radiologist at the Shannon Women's Imaging Center. "Combining these screening methods increases the accuracy of detection, which decreases the number of call-back appointments for additional screening. This spares our patients the inconvenience, and most importantly the anxiety, of coming back for another appointment."

Patients will not notice a difference in the screening process. The same amount of compression is applied and a very low dose of radiation is used during the exam. Images are taken at varying angles, and it only takes the machine a few seconds longer to capture each image.

You want to know

When breast cancer is suspected, you and your health care team want to know the results quickly so a treatment plan can be put in motion. Early diagnosis leads to earlier treatment and a greater chance for a full recovery. The five-year relative survival rate for women diagnosed with localized breast cancer—cancer that has not spread to lymph nodes or outside the breast—is 98.5 percent. Convenience of imaging services and a highly trained staff is also a vital part of this process.

The Shannon Women's Imaging Center houses state-of-the-art mammography, ultrasound, bone density, stereotactic breast biopsy and MRI equipment. Everything you need for breast care is under one roof.

"We are committed to continuing to deliver advanced breast care to the women of our community," Dr. Snuggs says. "We want women to seek comfort in the fact that technology and training combine to help us detect breast cancers when they are present—early detection can often mean complete recovery."

Current guidelines recommend screening mammograms and physical breast examinations every year beginning at age 40. Along with scheduling a regular mammogram, please remember the importance of monthly breast self-examination. Most importantly, if you have any concerns, inform your physician immediately. Early detection is the best protection against breast cancer.

For more information about breast cancer, please visit the online health library. To schedule your mammogram, call the Shannon Women's Imaging Center at 325-481-2339.

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