Women in Alexandria Bay and the surrounding river communities now have access to the most advanced mammograms available, close to home at River Hospital. Equipment upgrades made possible by last summer’s capital grant from New York State have allowed River Hospital to upgrade to 3D mammography, also known as digital breast tomosynthesis, which provides several critical improvements for patients.
“3D technology provides a much clearer image of the breast, even if the patient has dense or overlapping tissue”, says Dr. Ali Gharagozloo, radiologist at River Hospital. “This can decrease the potential of patients being called back for additional testing, as well as increasing the ability to diagnose breast cancer.”
A 3D mammogram is very similar to any other mammogram experience for the patient, adding only seconds onto the examination length. But this new screening technology provides a three-dimensional image of the breast using several low-dose X-ray images from different angles. Providers are able to see a clearer image of the breast tissue allowing for earlier detection of breast cancer, and earlier detection of breast cancer has been proven to help save lives.
Benefits of 3D mammography include:
1) More accurate detection: By minimizing the impact of overlapping breast tissue, 3D mammography can make a tumor easier to see. Reviewing multiple images has helped doctors find more cancers than with 2D images alone.
2) Earlier diagnosis: Overlapping tissue can hide small cancers in a 2D scan. However, with 3D mammography, the image “slices” can be analyzed one by one. This means 3D mammography may help detect cancers earlier than conventional mammography.
3) Better detection in dense breast tissue: Dense breast tissue, often found in younger women, can cause shadows due to overlapping tissue, which hides tumors from traditional 2D mammography. 3D mammography takes images of the breast from multiple angles, thereby offering a cutting-edge look through and around breast tissue.
4) Less Anxiety: 3D mammography can help reduce false alarms. The improved accuracy in diagnosing abnormal structures offered by a 3D view of the breast decreases the number of unnecessary callbacks to women for additional scans and biopsies.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women, exceeded only by lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Detecting cancer at an earlier stage will influence a woman’s chance of survival.
In most cases River Hospital’s radiology department offers prompt appointment scheduling, short wait times, and results are usually available in 1-2 business days. Please talk with your primary care provider about your risk for breast cancer. 3D mammography screenings are covered by Medicare and most insurance plans. You can also schedule an appointment for a mammogram at River Hospital by calling 315-482-1156.