Say Yes Ma'am to the Mammogram
As technology advances, so does the treatment for breast cancer.
For several years, OSF HealthCare has used 3D mammography at a number of its screening sites to help detect cancer. Also referred to as breast tomosynthesis, 3D mammography helps detect breast cancer earlier than 2D mammography, particularly for women with dense breast tissue.
The 3D mammogram is done alongside the traditional 2D digital mammogram. The X-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over the breast and takes multiple images instead of one straight-down picture. Then, a computer produces a 3D image in one millimeter slices, which provides better visibility for the radiologist to see breast detail in a way never before possible.
Jason Davis, MD, a radiologist at OSF HealthCare, says this newer technology has been a game changer into breast cancer detection.
“There were still some components of sensitivity we were missing from women with dense breasts,” Dr. Davis says. “The 3D mammography really helped that. Just going from digital mammography to 3D mammography was a really big leap. It helped us look at breasts in sections. It’s almost like looking at a CT scan. It helped with cancer detection in all women, but it helped a little bit more with women with denser breasts.”
Advances in mammography can be credited with detecting 80% to 90% of breast cancer in women without symptoms. During his time working with OSF HealthCare, Dr. Davis has seen mammography technology change greatly.
“We have come a long way since film-screen mammography, which is where someone takes an X-Ray and they print out a picture. Then the picture is hung and the radiologists read it that way. We went from there to digital mammography and now we have 3D mammography. This tool, along with artificial intelligence, computer-aided, detection has significantly increased breast cancer detection,” Dr. Davis adds.
Across Illinois and in Michigan, OSF HealthCare offers breast health resources. It’s recommended that women over 40 should speak with their health care provider on when the best time is to begin yearly mammograms.
When it comes to getting a mammogram, Dr. Davis says there are “no wrong answers.” He adds if there are only 2D mammograms offered in your area, it’s still best to speak with your doctor and get checked if advised.