July 1, 2015

Breast Health Center at St. John Medical Center now offers 3D mammograpy screening

The Breast Health Center at St. John Medical Center now offers 3D mammography tomosynthesis, the most accurate breast cancer screening available.

“3D mammography is a powerful tool in early detection and the fight against breast cancer,” says Cathy Graham, M.D., medical director of the Breast Health Center. “The precise 3D images reveal small breast tumors when they are easier to treat – including those that traditional two-dimensional mammography might miss.”

The accuracy of 3D technology also benefits women with dense breast tissue that can be more difficult to screen with traditional mammography. If doctors notice an area that's suspicious on the normal image, they can turn to the 3D view to examine it from slightly different angles. 

“The images help us tell the difference between breast tumors and harmless areas that might have appeared as suspicious shadows on a standard mammography image,” says Dr. Graham. This results in fewer callbacks for additional mammograms and other procedures, such as breast biopsy or ultrasound.

“It means less stress and more peace of mind for the patient,” she says.

3D tomosynthesis, which has increased cancer detection by up to 40 percent, offers the following advantages:

  • Easier detection: By reducing the effects of overlapping breast tissue that can hide small tumors, tomosynthesis can make a breast abnormality easier to see.
  • Fewer callbacks: Tomosynthesis can help radiologists reduce false alarms. For example, a three-dimensional view can prove that a spot that looked questionable in a mammogram screening is really no cause for concern. This leads to fewer callbacks, additional scans and biopsies.
  • Earlier detection: With tomosynthesis, additional images of the breast are taken and synthesized into a 3-D data set, much like a CT scan. This finer detail works to detect cancers earlier than standard mammography.
  • Better visualization: Three-dimensional images help radiologists see the size, shape and location of an abnormality. In a 2-D mammogram, it could be hidden.
  • More comprehensive care: When cancer is detected in one breast, 15 percent of women have another tumor in the same breast or in the other breast. Tomosynthesis screens the whole breast, not just the problem area.

Tomosynthesis has been shown to be beneficial for women of all breast densities. “Ultrasound and MRI are also very sensitive tests used to detect breast cancer,” says Dr. Graham. “Talk to your doctor about the option that is best for you.”

St. John Medical Center is a 194-bed medical facility with 1,300 employees, 300 volunteers, and a medical staff of nearly 600. Co-owned by the Sisters of Charity Health System and University Hospitals, the medical center is a nationally recognized Catholic healthcare provider as well as a teaching hospital affiliated with the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.


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