SOUTH BEND, Ind.--- Most women, including me, will admit that we fear one day hearing the words "you have breast cancer."
With 1 in 8 women developing breast cancer in their lifetime, most of us have a family member or friend who has been through this.
We all know early detection is key to survival, and we are now learning that doctors have a new tool in their arsenal that is a game changer.
Peace of mind is what made Mary Moran decide to get new 3D Mammography, now available at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, instead of a traditional Mammogram.
“I heard it was a better image, and I was kind of curious to see from year to year if there was any change,” said Mary. “If there was any chance I wouldn't have to be called back for a second test I figured it was saving my time and money.”
Dr. Brett Stephens, a Radiologist, explains how this new technology, called Tomosynthesis, differs from the Mammograms women are used to getting.
“Think of a normal Mammogram, of the past as looking at a sheet of paper,” said Dr. Stephens. “The 3D Mammogram is now like looking at half a baseball or half of a balloon if you will. We can actually see into the balloon now with the 3D Tomography.
Now that we have this 3D imaging for Mammography, the detection of all breast cancers has gone up by 29 percent, and it's especially helpful finding breast cancer in women like me, who are told they have dense breasts.
Dr. Stephens reads Mammograms every day, but even with all his years of expertise, Dr. Stephens says traditional Mammography can miss breast cancer, especially in women with dense breasts.
“The sensitivity of breast cancer in women with dense breast is roughly 27 percent, it's very, very low, just because we can't see through it,” said Dr. Stephens.
In a landmark study, recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, evidence shows 3D Tomosynthesis is a life saving game changer.
“It showed an increase in overall cancer detection of 29 percent with 3D Tomosynthesis, that’s a huge number,” said Dr. Stephens.
And for any woman whose been through the sheer terror of being called back because of an abnormal Mammogram, Dr. Stephens says, 3D imaging is changing that too.
“We're now seeing a drop in that recall rate of 15 percent,” said Dr. Stephens. “That decreases anxiety and also decreases radiation exposure to the woman.”
And the big winners are the women whose lives it may save.
“We've only had it about a month and I’ve seen two or three that I know off hand that I would not have seen without this technology,” said Dr. Stephens.
State of the art technology giving women their best defense against breast cancer, early detection.
Because this is new technology most insurance companies will not cover the additional costs until January of next year.
So the Paqui and Brian Kelly Comprehensive Breast Center at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center will provide women with the 3D portion of the procedure at no additional cost until the end of the year.
If it is time for your Mammogram and you want to schedule a 3D Mammogram contact the Paqui and Brian Kelly Comprehensive Breast Center at SJRMC. Call 574-335-4500 to make an appointment.