A clear view on early breast cancer detection

Posted on April 10, 2016

When it comes to breast cancer, early detection is key to successful treatment and recovery. So, what if your doctor could detect cancer even sooner?

Erlanger Health System is now offering 3-D tomosynthesis. This new form of breast cancer mammography produces clear, highly-focused three-dimensional imaging that makes it easier to pinpoint the size, shape, and location of abnormalities.

How does it work?

With traditional mammography, each breast is compressed under a paddle while two X-ray images are taken — one top to bottom and one side to side. Though this method of breast cancer detection has proven effective, it does have limitations including:

  • Overlapping of breast tissue where smaller tumors may hide
  • Limited vision through dense tissue

Once in place, the machine makes an arc over the breast while gathering multiple images from multiple angles. Then, tomosynthesis creates the images in slices. These “slices” allow for a clearer image of the overall breast, as opposed to trying to look through a lot of tissue, which can obscure imaging.

Research is proving that this enhanced imaging means easier detection of smaller and earlier-stage cancers. In fact, in the recent STORM Study, 59 cancers were detected using 3-D tomosynthesis versus 39 cancers detected using traditional 2-D mammography — a whopping 25% increase in cancer detection!

Hear Dr. Noel Bergquist describe this process ›

Is 3-D tomosynthesis right for you?

3-D tomosynthesis is being proven effective for women of all breast densities — from fatty to extremely dense. However, women with dense tissue may benefit from it most. You may also consider 3-D tomosynthesis if you have any of the following risk factors:

  • A family history of breast cancer
  • A personal history of breast cancer
  • Other factors that may increase your risk for breast cancer

This new form of imaging is available at our Erlanger Center for Breast Health at Erlanger East Hospital, and does not require a physician referral — anyone interested can request it. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please call 423-778-PINK (7465).

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