Women within driving distance of Marshall County now have access to technology being hailed as the single greatest breakthrough in breast cancer detection in the past 30 years. 

The 3D mammography exam is the only mammogram proven to:

• detect breast cancer 15 months earlier

  reduce unnecessary callbacks by up to 40 percent

• find 41 percent more invasive cancers than conventional mammography alone

 

How it works

3D mammography scans allow doctors to examine your breast tissue layer by layer. So, instead of viewing all of the complexities of your breast tissue in a single image as with 2D mammography, fine details are more visible and no longer hidden by tissue above and below.

More than 100 clinical studies have shown that by using this technology, doctors are able to screen for breast cancer with much greater accuracy regardless of a women’s age or breast density.

 

What to expect during your exam

The process of a 3D mammography exam is the same as your conventional 2D exam. The technologist will position you, compress your breast and take images from different angles. 

Dr. Cynthia Monk, of Cornerstone General Surgery Clinic in Guntersville, sees women referred to her for surgery after an abnormal mammogram. She strongly recommends women begin annual mammograms at age 40 or 45 for those with average risks. Women with a first-degree history should start mammograms 10 years before the age of that occurrence. For example, if your mother’s breast cancer was diagnosed at age 45, they you should being yearly scans at age 35. 

 

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.

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.

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