Sunday, December 20, 2015

New Technology for Detecting Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women today. Yet successful treatment and survival rates for breast cancer patients are dramatically improved by early detection. When found early, through mammograms or physical exams and before breast cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, the five-year survival rate for patients is almost 100 percent. It is wise to know our options and know what types of early detection is available, so we talked with the executive director of Women First, Denise Kirkham, about some new technologies for early detection.

Women First has new 3D Tomosynthesis Mammography equipment that is the first and only technology of its kind approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and has been proven to detect more types of breast cancer earlier and more accurately. “This advanced 3D imaging technology allows our radiologists to view breast tissue layer by layer,” Kirkham explains. “Fine details are more visible within the 3D images and are less obscured by tissue above or below. Masses and distortions associated with cancers and precancerous cells are more clearly discernible with 3D tomosynthesis than with conventional mammography.”

With this new technology, studies indicate up to a 30 percent increase in cancer detection compared to conventional mammography. For the 40 percent of women with dense breasts, connective breast tissue appears more white (less translucent) on a mammogram, which can mask the appearance of cancer cells that also appear white.

“The procedure for a 3D TOMO Mammogram is almost identical to a traditional 2D mammogram. Our technologist positions the patient, compresses the breast, and takes images from different angles without requiring additional compression. It only requires a few extra seconds to obtain each view. Additionally, a 3D mammography exam uses very low x-ray energy—a total patient dose well within the FDA safety standards for mammography,” says Kirkham.

Has anyone tried this new mammography yet? Share your comments below.

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