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.
What is 3-D mammography?
Digital breast tomosynthesis, or 3-D mammography, utilizes the same x-ray technology as traditional mammography, or 2-D 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.
Numerous research studies have found an increase in earlier detection of breast cancers when traditional and 3-D screening methods are combined.
Combining these screening methods increases the accuracy of detection, which decreases the number of call-back appointments for additional imaging. This spares our patients the inconvenience and, most important, the anxiety of of coming back for another appointment.
Additionally, 3-D-guided biopsies are used when a suspected area is identified. This minimally invasive technique is used to target miniscule lesions that cannot be seen with traditional mammography alone.
What to expect
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.
Do I need a mammogram?
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 important, if you have any concerns, inform your physician immediately. Early detection is the best protection against breast cancer.
When breast cancer is suspected, you and your healthcare 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 are 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.