3-D mammograms may increase breast cancer detection

One-in-eight women will get breast cancer.

Experts agree the key to successfully fighting the disease is early detection.

Now, new technology is available that can provide doctors a more detailed image to work with.

Some call a new machine a game-changer in breast cancer detection.

Doctor Ronald Prati, a radiologist and medical director, says, "I think it's a huge leap forward.”

He says tomosynthesis, or 3-D mammograms, doubles the cancer detection rate and decreases callbacks for additional testing. The machine images multiple layers of the breast.

Dr. Prati says, "it's the difference between trying to look through a loaf of bread verses pulling out individual slices and looking at them."

Shelby Coriaty wishes this technology had been available years ago. It could have changed her life.

Shelby says, "I went for my very first mammogram and actually got a clean bill of health. So I went on my way thinking, alright, I’ve done all those things I’m supposed to do and about three months after that I actually had an itch in my armpit and I felt a golf ball."

Shelby had breast cancer. Eighteen surgeries later, she encourages other women, like Amy Janes, to get annual screenings. Janes was one of the first to try tomosynthesis.

Amy says, "It really wasn't any different other than you notice the machine move slightly unlike the 2-D mammogram is stationary."

Doctors say the 3-D images can be beneficial for young women who have dense breast tissue, which is sometimes more difficult to screen.

However, insurance companies do not cover tomosynthesis until January 2015.

Therefore, patients will want to check their options with their doctors, hospitals or insurance companies prior to undergoing the test.

TOPIC: 3-D Mammography
REPORT: MB #3784

BACKGROUND: About one-in-eight women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime. In 2013 an estimated 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in women in the United States. About 2,000 new cases were expected in men in 2013. Breast Cancer incidence rates in the U.S. started decreasing in the year 2000.There's a theory that the decrease was partly because of the reduced use of hormone replacement therapy. (Source: http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/understand_bc/statistics)

SIGNS/SYMPTOMS: The risk doubles in women if she has a first degree relative who has been diagnosed. About five to 10 percent of breast cancers can be linked to gene mutations inherited from a parent. BRCA1 and BRCA2 are the most common mutations. Women with the BRCA1 mutation have a 55 percent risk of breast cancer. The risk with a BRCA2 is lower at 45 percent. To understand this better...some genes control when cells grow, divide into new cells and die. Genes that speed up cell division are called oncognes. Tumor suppressor genes slow down cell division, or cause cells to die at the right time. But, when there is a mutation or changes in DNA that turn on and turn off tumor suppressor genes, normal breast cells can become cancerous. (Source: http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/understand_bc/statistics)

NEW TECHNOLOGY: The 3-D mammogram also known as tomosynthesis captures several slices of the breast, all at different angles. The images are brought together to create a crystal clear 3D reconstruction of the breast. Then the radiologist can review the reconstruction one slice at a time. It's kind of like turning pages in a book. This makes it easier for doctors to see if there's anything to be concerned about. There's also less chance for a cancer to hide behind overlapping tissue. A breast tomosynthesis exam can be used in conjunction with a traditional mammogram or it can be used by itself for a diagnostic mammogram. (Source: Florida Hospital Breast Care Center)


Denise Smith, AS, RT(R)(M)
Clinical Manager - Breast Care Center
Florida Hospital Tampa
Office: 813-615-7200, ext. 50814

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