Women over 40 know how important annual mammograms are for breast health, but XRA Medical Imaging is taking mammography a step further.
Now being offered at four of XRA’s locations, digital breast tomosynthesis, also known as 3D mammography, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2011. It is a relatively new technology, but studies have shown that it is already better able to detect cancer and leads to fewer false positives. “This is an innovative technology that we’re offering our patients and we felt it was necessary to provide 3D mammography at multiple XRA locations,” said Dr. David Rowe, President of XRA Medical Imaging. “We want our patients to be able to come in to any of our locations that offer mammograms and utilize this technology.”
3D mammography is different from the standard mammogram because although the breast is still compressed to take the images, the mammography unit takes the images at multiple angles to put together an x-ray of the breast that is clearer and allows doctors to find cancers with more ease and accuracy. According to the National Cancer Institute, about 10% of women will be recalled for additional views following their annual mammogram and only 5 out of 100 of those women will have cancer in her breast. “Coming back for additional views is stressful for the patient and many times, the stress is unnecessary,” according to Dr. Rowe. “The time between an annual screening mammogram and a follow-up appointment for additional images can wreck a patient’s nerves, understandably. XRA is trying to alleviate that stress by taking the best-quality images of our patients for better interpretation by our doctors.”
Many states, including Rhode Island, have recently passed legislation in regard to breast health. A patient who is noted to have dense breast tissue may be at an increased risk because the density of the tissue can mask any abnormal areas that may have been caught in a patient with less dense tissue. For that reason, mammography providers are obligated to let patients and their healthcare providers know when breast tissue is considered dense. “The goal is that even with dense breast tissue, cancers will be caught earlier than with standard mammography,” according to Dr. Rowe. “The difference in image quality is noticeable and we hope to ease our patients' worries about having an annual mammogram done.”
3D mammography will be available to patients at the Cranston, Johnston 1524, Smithfield, and Wakefield sites.