Approximately 1,200 women in Maine are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. In an effort to provide women with the best diagnostic tools available, the Breast Center at Mount Desert Island Hospital is now offering patients the 3D mammogram, a more advanced mammography exam. While 2D mammography takes a single image of the breast, this newer technology takes multiple pictures from many angles, giving doctors a more complete picture, says Philip J. Pizzola, Director of Medical Imaging at MDI Hospital.
Also known as digital breast tomosynthesis, this 3D mammography system is the most advanced in the region that the FDA has approved as superior for women with dense breasts compared to 2D alone. “Early detection is essential to achieving the best outcomes,” says Pizzola. “3D mammography is the gold standard for early detection for women across a variety of ages and breast densities, and can be especially beneficial for women who have dense breast tissue.”
Also known as digital breast tomosynthesis, the 3D mammogram is the only mammogram approved by the FDA as superior for women with dense breasts compared to 2D alone. Nearly fifty percent of women between the ages of 40 and 74 have dense breasts. Dense breast tissue can make it difficult for doctors to detect breast cancer during annual screenings, which is concerning since patients with dense breasts can be more likely to develop breast cancer.
Because of its increased accuracy, 3D mammography also reduces the number of visits needed, which in turn reduces radiation overall. Patients won’t notice much of a difference between a conventional 2D mammogram and a 3D mammogram, the real difference is in the information available to the doctor, says Pizzola, “It’s essentially the difference between looking at the cover of a book and reading all of its pages.” The exam takes about the same amount of time – a 3.7 second scan time—and the positioning is the same.
To learn more about 3D mammography, or to schedule an appointment, contact the Breast Health Center at (207) 288-8435.
About the Breast Health Center at MDI Hospital
The Breast Health Center at MDI Hospital is the only Breast Imaging Center of Excellence in Downeast Maine—designated by the American College of Radiology—and one of only six in the entire state. In addition to digital mammography, the Center of Excellence status puts a gold star on other types of imaging procedures including breast ultrasound, ultrasound-guided biopsy and stereotactic breast biopsy. These minimally invasive technologies offer women a shorter recovery time, reduced pain compared to surgical biopsies, and minimal scarring. In each of these procedures, our team has undergone specialized training and education to ensure the highest standard of care for our patients.
About Genius™ 3D Mammography™ Exams
The breast is a three-dimensional object composed of different structures located at different heights within the breast. These structures can overlap and cause confusion when viewed as a flat two-dimensional image. This confusion of overlapping of tissue is a leading reason why small breast cancers may be missed and normal tissue may appear abnormal, leading to unnecessary callbacks. Using breast tomosynthesis technology, the Hologic system creates a 3-dimensional image of the breast structure, which enables radiologists to more clearly see through overlapping tissue to detect cancers, often at an earlier stage.
The Hologic system is the first FDA-approved breast tomosynthesis system in the U.S. Hologic Genius 3D Mammography™ exams are now available in all 50 states and over 50 countries. To date, more than 8 million women have been screened with this advanced screening system.