Though the celebrations of October’s National Breast Cancer Awareness month are now underway, ask any health-conscious woman and she’ll quickly tell you: Breast health is a year-round focus.
To that end, Physicians Regional-Collier Boulevard will soon be the first hospital in Southwest Florida to offer 3D digital tomosynthesis for early breast cancer detection — mammography that allows for a more detailed understanding of breast tissue. Now FDA approved, 3D mammography has already resulted in an earlier detection of invasive and noninvasive breast cancers in multiple studies and is expected to be available to patients in November.
This new screening technology also reduces the need for follow-up imaging that can happen with the illusion of an abnormal area in a traditional 2D view. This saves patients time and travel, additional radiation exposure and unnecessary worry.
To explain, rather than the flat image of traditional 2D mammography, 3D mammography allows radiologists to look through visual slices — one millimeter at a time — to study objects at different heights in the breast. When compared to 2D alone, there is a 27 percent increase in cancer detection and a 40 percent increase in invasive cancer detection.
Though still a great tool for breast cancer detection, standard mammogram is limited to two views. The tomosynthesis represents a giant leap forward as it takes multiple images from different angles to produce a 3D image of the breast — providing far better detail but still using a comparable radiation dose to a traditional mammogram.
Think of it this way, comparing a standard mammogram with 2D imaging to tomosynthesis 3D imaging is similar to comparing a standard x-ray to a CT scan. In both cases, the later produces higher quality and greater visibility of details. What’s more, 3D mammography does not increase test time or cause a more uncomfortable examination, quite the opposite. The length of time to get these multiple images is similar to that of the traditional mammogram but with less compression.
Plus, with 3D digital tomosynthesis, a radiologist will provide the patient with a verbal assessment within 30 minutes. It is also anticipated that patients will receive a screening mammogram and their written results within 24 hours.
Now, for those occasions when surgery is necessary, recent studies indicate when a surgeon utilizes ultrasound guidance in the operating room to remove a breast tumor, patients experience better outcomes. Ultrasound guidance decreases multiple trips to the operating room and improves the final outcome post-operatively.
Dr. Sharla Gayle Patterson of Physicians Regional Comprehensive Breast Center is the only surgeon in Collier County certified by the American Society of Breast Surgeons in Breast Ultrasound.
Dr. Patterson notes: “The use of ultrasound greatly increases the likelihood that all the cancer will be removed the FIRST time.” How? Ultrasound-guided breast surgery helps to better target the problem. It also provides for a better detection and leads to improved cosmetic results by saving innocent breast tissue.
For more information, please call the Comprehensive Breast Center at 239-348-4396.