Early Detection. 3-D MAMMOGRAPHY­ A new perspective for finding breast cancer.


No doubt you've heard the mantra, "Early detection saves lives." Mammograms are life-savers.

Women in Knox County now have 3D mammography (tomosnythesis) avail­able to them, thanks to your generosity. This technology helps health care providers to find cancerous breast tumors when they're still too tiny for a woman or her doctor to feel. Women now have a lifesaving head-start on treatment.

The difference between standard 2D and 3D mammography isn't in patient experience. It's in the images themselves.

2D mammography x-rays breast tissue from two angles. In contrast, 3-D mam­mography produces multiple, three-di­mensional images, taken from several angles. During a 3-D exam, an X-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over the breast, producing a series of low dose x-ray images. Then, a computer renders digital 2D and 3D images of the breast tissue. These thin, one millimeter slices allow the radiologist to scroll through the images of the entire breast, much like flipping through the pages of a book, providing more detail than previously thought possible. Since the 3D images also reduce the overlap of breast tissue, it is possible for a radiolo­gist to better see through the breast tissue on the mammogram.

In addition to enhanced early detection, 3D mammography also reduces patient callbacks.

With conventional 2D digital mammog­raphy, the radiologist views all of the breast tissues on a single flat image. This tissue overlap can sometimes make cancers hard to detect. Also, the overlap can also create areas that appear to be abnormal, thus requiring the patient to be "called back" for additional testing in order to determine that cancer is not present. These traumatic false positives are very stressful for the patient and also add to the expense of the treatment.

Studies have shown that 3D mammog­raphy reduces call back by 15% while detecting 22% more cancers than 2D mammograms. "We are very fortunate to have 3-D Digital Mammography at Knox Community Hospital-a superior breast imaging technology often found only at the nation's largest hospital centers," says Dr. Robert Konstan, Diag­nostic Radiologist at KCH. "Digital tomosynthesis provides more precise and accurate imaging of the breast. It reduces screening recalls due to normal tissue superimposition. 3-D Digital imaging enhances detection of invasive breast cancer at an earlier stage. This allows prompt delivery of treatment and, most importantly, improves surviv­al of those with breast cancer. We are excited to bring this new technology to our community and continue the fight against breast cancer." To date, over 700 women in our area have taken advantage of this new technology.

For more information, visit the American Cancer Society's website at www.cancer.org.

Lori Wilkes