Thursday, September 26, 2013

New technology allows better mammograms

Two medical centers in Suffolk will soon begin scheduling patients for a new type of mammography that should enhance the ability of doctors to detect cancers, experts say.

Known as 3D mammography or breast tomosynthesis, the new procedure will be offered at the Advanced Imaging Center at BelleHarbour and Sentara Obici Comprehensive Breast Center. The services will be offered starting in December, but scheduling will start Oct. 1.

A study in the June 2013 issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology found the use of the new technology increased cancer detection by 35 percent, increased invasive cancer detection by 53 percent and reduced callbacks — when women had to come back for more tests — by 38 percent.

“It’s very significant,” said Dr. Stafford Brown, a radiologist at Obici and BelleHarbour. “The key is early detection, and any tool we can get our hands on to detect breast cancer early without increasing risk to the patient is a good thing.”
Conventional mammography creates a two-dimensional image of the breast, much like an X-ray, making it difficult to find small cancers hidden among layers of breast tissue, according to a press release from Sentara. The new technology creates 3D breast reconstructions so radiologists can view the breast in paper-thin layers.