Breast cancer is the most common cancer in America for women. The American Cancer Society estimates that 268,6000 cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed by the end of 2019.
The statistics are staggering, and Adams County isn’t immune. Although breast cancer is pervasive, the technologies to catch the cancer in its early stages are improving.
West River Health Services just invested into one of these new technologies by upgrading their mammography system. Even though it’s the same mammography machine, the new upgrade gives physicians the ability to see the body in three dimensions rather than just two.
According to Radiology Manager Jodi Burns, the ability to see in 3-D gives the physician a much more in-depth picture and the ability to catch the cancer earlier.
“It’s kind of like a book and pages,” she explained, “Before with 2-D mammography, you were only able to see the cover and sides of the book. Now with 3-D, the physician is able to look through the pages of the book.”
The new ability to look at thin sections of the breast tissue, frame by frame, allows a physician see more images and get more correct information about a suspected area.
Already, General Diagnostic Radiologist Mark Kristy has been going through trainings on how to interpret the new images. Once his training is finished, Kristy expects that he will be able give patients more conclusive feedback on their test results with less returns to the doctor.
“With this 3-D technology, false positives are reduced significantly. We can characterize potential abnormalities better and more definitively tell a patient the result of an abnormality,” he said. “There is a lot less call back, a lot less patient anxiety, and they get it done with right away.”
Even though the 3-D upgrade takes more pictures, according to Burns, it’s still the same machine and comparable with what people have experienced in the past.
“It does not give more radiation than 2-D,” said Burns. “It’s the same machine that people are used to and it’s the same amount of time to get tested.”
Both Burns and Kristy suggested, based on information from both the American Cancer Society and the American College of Radiology, that women over the age of 40 get screened for breast cancer every year.
“The most important thing is awareness,” said Burns, “Ultimately, people should contact their contact their primary health physician to find out more information.”
Those wanting to learn more about breast cancer and the new technologies can call West River Health Services at 701-567-4561.