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3D mammograms coming to Southeast Texas
BEAUMONT - by Lauren Huet
The newest revolution in breast cancer detection may soon come to a Southeast Texas cancer center. It's called 3D mammography. A new study shows 3D mammograms significantly detect more invasive cancers and reduce the amount of call backs for false positives. The Dauphin Center in Southeast Texas is working on getting 3D mammography.
Cheryl Bilyeu visited with her breast cancer navigator, Jaylene Carr, at the Dauphin Center Friday. Bilyeu was diagnosed with breast cancer after her annual mammogram at the Dauphin Center last year.
"Early detection is the key," said Bilyeu. "They detected it early and got me right in for surgery and right in for radiation therapy. It was a matter of about 4 months total before I got to ring the cancer survivor bell."
She's glad 3D mammography is coming to Southeast Texas.
"I can't wait for it. I'm excited!" said Bilyeu.
"We are eagerly anticipating to be one of the first centers to be available to have that for our patients here at Baptist and at the Dauphin Center," said Jaylene Carr, who is also the manager of the Dauphin Center.
The 3D mammography x-ray and software will be added on to the 2D mammography machines the Dauphin Center already has. Instead of allowing doctors to just see one shot of each breast from top to bottom, the 3D mammogram will allow doctors to see numerous images inside the breast. They will be able to flip through these 'slices' millimeters at a time like pages in a book.
"When we are able to look slice by slice through your breast versus just two pictures," said radiologist Dr. Linda Armstrong, "you can better see if there's a mass developing versus it just being your normal tissue."
Allowing doctors to see through more dense breast tissue.
"And having dense breast tissue puts you at a slightly increased risk of developing breast cancer compared to a woman who doesn't," said Dr. Armstrong. "So, I think it does benefit a lot of these women who in the past we weren't able to see through their breast tissue as well."
Studies show 3D mammograms reduce call backs for false positives.
"I'm very excited because I am a candidate for that for sure," said Bilyeu. "My breast tissue is very dense, hence the reason why over the years it's always been, 'we need an ultrasound, we need a biopsy because we can't see what this is.' That's going to take that away from me."
"If I was questioning calling somebody back for something," said Dr. Armstrong, "when I look through the images I can see, oh this is clearly just how this person was made. It's just her tissue overlapping itself. Versus oh, there's definitely something there developing."
Dr. Armstrong says the 3D mammogram will be done at the same time as the 2D mammogram. It will only take about an additional four seconds of compression. Although 3D mammography is on its way to Southeast Texas, doctors say don't wait to get a mammogram.
"We don't want women to think they want to wait just for that to come," said Carr, "because what they need we already have right now. The 3D mammography will enhance what we already have at the Dauphin Center."
The FDA approved 3D mammography in 2011. Carr says the Dauphin Center is waiting for the FDA to approve a low-dose 3D mammography system it wants to use. She expects it to happen soon.
The low-dose system would have lower radiation than the regular 3D mammography. Dr. Armstrong says there is only a small difference in the amount of radiation between regular 2D mammograms and 3D mammograms. She says it shouldn't deter women from getting a 3D mammogram.
Carr says insurance only covers 2D mammograms, but expects that to change soon.
"I believe that eventually it will be covered by insurance. The demand will certainly be out there. Women are already calling about that," said Carr, "and I believe the cost will be minimal, if any."