technology provides improved breast cancer detection
Early detection is key in the fight against breast cancer, and Palos Community Hospital’s Women’s Center offers 3D mammography to help screen for the disease at more treatable stages.
With breast tomosynthesis, a three-dimensional image of the breast tissue is produced, helping radiologists identify and characterize individual breast structures without the confusion of overlapping tissue.
“Although extremely good, regular 2D mammography does not find all cancers,” says Erwin Thimm, M.D., a radiologist at Palos Community Hospital. “Approximately 10 percent of breast cancers are not seen by regular mammography and therefore, there is always a push for improvements.”
Adding a 3D mammogram to a traditional 2D mammogram only takes an additional five seconds and the benefits are shown in the numbers. Tomosynthesis has a 40 percent higher invasive cancer detection rate than conventional 2D mammography alone. The technology gives radiologists increased confidence with up to a 40 percent reduction in recall rates.
The tomosynthesis screening experience is similar to a traditional mammography. During the exam, multiple, low-dose images of the breast are acquired at different angles. These images are then used to create a series of one-millimeter thick slices that can be viewed as a 3D reconstruction of the breast.
Breast tomosynthesis should benefit most screening and diagnostic mammography patients, and is especially valuable for women receiving a baseline screening, those who have dense breast tissue and women with a history of breast cancer.
Dr. Thimm urges women to receive yearly mammograms, whether tomosynthesis is available to them or not.
“Multiple studies have shown mammography increases survival rates,” he says. “And it’s not just getting a mammogram but getting one every year that’s important. Studies clearly show annual screenings, starting at age 40, save lives.”
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women, exceeded only by lung cancer. Statistics indicate one in eight women will develop breast cancer. The stage at which breast cancer is detected influences a woman’s chance of survival. According to the American Cancer Society, if detected early, the five-year survival rate is 98 percent.
Breast tomosynthesis is now available at the Women’s Health Center, located at 17333 S. LaGrange Road, in Tinley Park. To schedule a mammogram, please call (708) 827-2030 and be sure to request breast tomosynthesis.