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As good as mammograms are for women’s health, they have gotten even better. And thanks to community donations, women in Fremont County will soon benefit from the improvements. The St. Thomas More Health Foundation recently purchased the latest breast screening technology, called tomosynthesis or 3-D mammography, for the hospital. This new technology provides more accurate images and better detection of cancer in its earliest stages. St. Thomas More expects the new screenings to be available beginning in May.
A 3-D Look Breast tomosynthesis allows radiologists to see more than they can with traditional two-dimensional mammography. With standard mammography, images of each breast are taken from two angles, producing a flat image. In tomosynthesis, multiple low-dose X-ray images are taken from many angles, moving in an arc around each breast. A computer algorithm uses the information collected to create an entire series of 3-D pictures. This technology is relatively new and not available everywhere. But it is proving itself where it is being used. Some studies show 3-D mammography detects 22 percent more cancers than traditional mammography.
“Three-D mammography gives us a better understanding and a higher level of confidence when we’re reading the mammogram,” says Dianne Bush, RT (R)(M), diagnostic imaging director and mammography technologist at St. Thomas More Hospital. Three-D mammography is especially beneficial for examining women who have dense breasts. With traditional mammography, it can be difficult to get clear images, and to interpret those images, when breast tissue is dense.
Because 3-D mammography provides a more vivid image, the technology also helps cut down on one of mammography’s more unsettling side effects: the anxiety of being called back for a second, or even third, look.
With less ability to see the breast from multiple angles, traditional mammograms sometimes detect a spot that needs further imaging. In those cases, women will be called back for an additional mammogram and maybe ultrasound, Bush says. But according to the American Cancer Society, 61 out of every 100 women called back will not have cancer. The callbacks can cause days or weeks of worry for these women.
Early research suggests that only about 8.78 percent of women screened with 3-D mammography get called back, compared with 10.4 percent for 2-D mammography, according to breastcancer.org.
“We’re very fortunate to have this technology at St. Thomas More Hospital,” Bush says. “Anything that helps reduce anxiety and encourages women to keep coming in for their mammograms is a wonderful thing.”
While all insurance plans cover screening mammographies, some do not cover 3-D mammography. Please check with your insurance provider.
At St. Thomas More our medical imaging department provides patients with digital mammograms. Digital mammography is the best way to detect breast cancer in its earliest stage. St. Thomas More is proud to offer this technology to Fremont County and our surrounding communities. Our
mammography services are certified by the American College of Radiology and our technologists are registered with the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Our on-site radiologists are board certified and are affiliated with the Pueblo Radiology Group.
The difference between a mammogram and a digital mammogram can be likened to a camera that uses film and one that takes digital photos. Digital mammography is advanced technology that takes digital X-ray pictures of the breast. These digital images provide the radiologist with the clearest pictures in which to look for lumps or masses in the breast. The digital images are ready for review immediately following the mammogram, unlike conventional mammograms when the film had to be developed. The radiologist can even change the contrast of the image to examine any abnormalities.
Digital mammograms offer the most advanced mammography technology available to-date. A digital mammogram offers many benefits including:
To schedule a mammogram appointment call: 719-285-2255.
Hours of operation
Note: All mammogram procedures require a physician order.
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