New 3D Mammography at BCHCC

New 3D Mammography at BCHCC

Tuesday, June 2, 2020
One in eight American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, the most common form of cancer in women. Breast cancer does not present any symptoms during its early stages, when the tumor is still small and the risk of it spreading is significantly lower. Mammography is the best defense for early detection of breast cancer. The American College of Radiology recommends an annual mammogram screening beginning at the age of 40 for women at average risk of developing breast cancer.
 
Butler County Health Care Center now offers 3D mammography; new mammogram technology that gives every woman her best chance for an early and accurate diagnosis. Mammography is a noninvasive imaging procedure that uses a low-dose X-ray system to examine changes in breast tissue. The breast is compressed under a paddle as images are taken of the breast. “Compression is key to good mammograms. A flatter breast means more surface for the technician to take an image,” explains Angie Vandenberg, R.T., Director of Radiology. “The 2D mammogram exams caused many women breast discomfort and/or pain. The new Siemen’s 3D mammography system at Butler County Health Care Center automatically adjusts compression to the individual structure of the breast and selects the lowest radiation dose, resulting in a more comfortable exam.” The paddle used for compression also increases comfort because it has soft edges and a breast-optimized shape that helps reduce pressure on the breast during compression. 
 
Judy Dubs has annual mammograms at the recommendation of her physician. During her physical exam in December, she mentioned that she felt two areas of abnormality in her left breast. Her physician suspected that she had fibroid cysts, like in the past, but scheduled her a mammogram exam. This was Judy’s first 3D exam. “The technicians were very helpful as they explained how the machine worked compared to the 2D method. A big difference is that the 3D machine moves above your head from one side to the other and gives a more complete image of the breast. The testing time also seemed shorter than the standard mammogram,” said Judy.
 
Most mammography exams in the past were done on standard systems that produced 2D images of your breast tissue. Doctors would review the images to detect suspicious lesions or tumors. It was a challenge, because lesions are often hidden by overlapping dense layers of tissue. The 3D mammogram uses true breast tomosynthesis (3D) to take the x-ray pictures of each breast. The tube moves in a 50-degree arc around the breast, taking 25 images during the exam. Those images are sent electronically to a computer and assembled into a three-dimensional picture of the breast. 
 
“The technicians filmed the left breast since nothing seemed out of the ordinary on the right side. Following the radiologist’s reading of the test, he asked for an image of the right breast also. This is where a small suspicious lump was found,” Judy said. Judy explained that after examining her right breast and finding an area of concern, an ultrasound test was performed confirming the lump. “Later that same day, biopsies of the cysts and the lump were done. It was the accuracy of the 3D mammogram that showed the lump which my doctor or I did not feel. The biopsy results showed a malignant tumor when returned.” 
 
“Every degree matters when it comes to breast tomosynthesis. The wider the angle of the scan, the more slices that go into the 3D rendering. The result is a clear image that helps providers look inside the breast layer by layer to find tumors better than standard 2D mammography alone,” explains Angie.
 
“I feel having a 3D mammogram was a blessing for me since it detected my Stage 1 cancer. If I had not gone in when I did, the results could have been much more serious,” adds Judy.  For more information about 3D mammography services at Butler County Health Care Center please contact the Radiology Department at 402-367-1235.