From the Expert: Should you consider a 3D Mammogram?

oneidahcNews, Press Release

ONEIDA, NY – October has quickly become synonymous with Breast Cancer Awareness, and rightfully so. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related death in women after lung cancer. On average about one in eight women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer during their lifetime according to the American Cancer Society.

It is widely accepted that a mammogram screening is a women’s best defense in detecting breast cancer in its earliest stages. However, with advancing technology a woman’s options have become more confusing over recent years. Today, more women are being asked by their imaging center if they’d prefer a 3D Mammogram as opposed to the traditional option, a 2D Mammogram.

A 3D Mammogram, also known as Tomosynthesis, is a newer form of technology for breast cancer screening that produces more images than a traditional 2D Mammogram. According to experts, compared to your traditional 2D Mammography, a 3D Mammography offers several significant benefits including up to a 30% increase in cancer detection.

The main difference between a 3D Mammogram and a 2D Mammogram is the number of images it captures. Traditional mammograms result in a few single compressed images where 3D Mammograms capture many images from different angles. “Where 2D images have their shortcomings is that you can’t see around normal or dense breast tissue which could surround a cancerous mass,” said Ryan Dockery, MD, lead Radiologist at Oneida Healthcare. “With 3D Mammography, I’m able to see around and beyond tissue making it easier for me to identify a cancerous mass.”

A simple analogy is if one was trying to examine an apple. A traditional 2D Mammogram would produce an image of the entire apple from front to back which a radiologist would need to look through to identify any areas of concern. A 3D Mammogram would produce sliced images of the same apple allowing the radiologist to move around any visual obstructions that would hinder his or her diagnosis. “It’s (3D Mammograms) the equivalent of being able to go inside a picture, which is more advantageous to a more definitive diagnosis.”

Another benefit of 3D Mammogram is the potential decrease in patient call-backs. “Compared to 3D, a 2D Mammogram lends to a higher probability of an unclear diagnosis and the requirement for further testing. This can include additional mammograms and or biopsies which could have otherwise been avoided if the patient received a 3D Mammogram initially.” He also noted the benefit of reducing unnecessary anxiety for the patient in leu of a call back for further testing.

Not all imaging centers currently provide 3D Mammograms. Oneida Healthcare was one of the first to offer it locally at their outpatient imaging center, Gorman Imaging located at 139 Fields Drive in Oneida. Dr. Dockery recommends identifying a center that provides the 3D option. “From the position of a Radiologist, 3D Mammograms give me the best opportunity to make an accurate diagnosis. I recommend 3D to all my female family members and friends.”

In February of 2017, New York health insurers became mandated to provide coverage for 3D mammograms without copays, coinsurance or deductibles. The American Cancer Society advices all women to begin annual mammogram screenings by age 45 and switch to screenings once every two years at age 55. The American College of Radiology and Society of Breast Imaging recommend women start mammogram screenings at age 40.

About Oneida Health
Oneida Health serves an area comprised of approximately 29 communities in Madison and western Oneida counties with a population of approximately 100,000. Operated by Oneida Health Systems, Inc, a New York State not-for-profit corporation, the organization includes a 101-bed acute care hospital, emergency department, state of the art surgery center, 160-bed extended-care and short-term rehab facility, primary care offices, internal medicine, comprehensive lab services, home medical equipment, comprehensive imaging services, outpatient therapy, and care specialties in: oncology, neurology, podiatry, vascular, sleep, OB/GYN, GI, wound care, orthopedics, and ENT.

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