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The Importance of 3D Digital Mammography

February 28, 2017 | Karen Darr

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What would you say if your doctor told you that a new type of mammogram can detect 41% more invasive breast cancers and detect cancer 15 months earlier?

What’s more, that same mammogram could reduce false positive recalls by up to 40%, making it much less likely that you would need to be called back for nerve-racking additional imaging.3d digital mammography

You’d want to know more, right? This new technology called 3D digital mammography allows radiologists to take three-dimensional images of the breast. That means they can then evaluate layer by layer in more detail, helping to screen for cancer, determine whether additional testing is necessary, or dismiss a false-positive with confidence. The technology also makes it easier to examine dense breasts, which are common in women younger than 50 years old.

All of this is done using a low dose of radiation that is well within FDA guidelines. The positioning and compression of the breasts are the same as in traditional mammograms. The only difference is that multiple images are taken in the 4-second scan time.

When patients come into Fisher-Titus Medical Center for a mammogram, they will now be offered a 3D mammogram. Because the technology is fairly new, some insurance providers do not yet cover the increase in cost of the new mammogram. The test is covered by Medicare. It’s important to check with your insurance provider to determine an out-of-pocket cost, if any. Keep in mind that although there may be an additional cost to the 3D mammogram, the potential savings of not being called back for additional testing can be significant— and provides peace of mind.

Estimates show that one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Better screening leads to better outcomes because, when breast cancer is found early, the five-year survival rate is almost 100%.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends annual mammograms for women beginning at age 40. It’s important to remember that eight out of nine women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history.

Besides making sure to have a yearly mammogram, there are simple lifestyle changes you can take to help reduce your chance of getting breast cancer. The bonus is that these changes will all work together to contribute to your general health as well.

The first step is to get moving. The Women's Health Initiative study found that women who walked briskly for 1¼ to 2½ hours a week had 18% less risk of breast cancer than women who were inactive.

Regular exercise, of course, will help achieve your next risk-reducer—staying at a healthy weight. An American Cancer Society study found that women who'd gained 21 to 30 pounds since age 18 were 40% more likely to develop breast cancer than those who had gained no more than 5 pounds.

It can be no surprise that healthy eating is also on the list of recommendations. The American Institute for Cancer Research reports that women who had the highest carotenoid levels in their blood had a 20-30% lower risk of breast cancer than those with the lowest levels. Carotenoids are found in fruits and vegetables such as leafy greens, carrots and red peppers. And that’s just one nutrient. Many different fruits and veggies have been shown to have cancer-fighting properties. In general, experts recommend eating five or more servings of fruits and veggies a day, limiting processed and red meats, and choosing whole grains over refined grains to help reduce risks of all types of cancer.

Breast cancer statistics can be scary. The good news is that, by taking control of your health, you can make a difference. That includes taking advantage of the latest advances in screening—like 3D mammograms—as well as exercising, maintaining a healthy weight and eating nutritiously. Contact us today by calling 419-660-2646 to schedule your 3D mammogram.

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