HELENA – St. Peter’s Health has announced a new 3D mammography machine to help staff better detect breast cancer when it is in the earliest stages.
The new 3Dimensions Mammography System is capable of producing a more comprehensive image for dense breast tissue, which is common in women under the age of 50.
Hospital staff believe the new technology will help St. Peter’s Health deliver a higher state of care to women in the community.
St. Peter’s Lead Mammographer Judy Owens has over four decades of mammogram experience and said dense breast tissue can make traditional 2D mammography more difficult to detect smaller growths.
“When you do an normal mammogram everything piles up, so sometimes things can be hidden. So this does it in slices similar to a CT scan,” said Owens.
According to St. Peter’s Health Radiologist Dr. James Tarver, “3D Mammography will improve our ability to better detect dangerous cancers, and at the same time reduces the likelihood of further testing for suspicious findings that turn out not to be cancer.”
St. Peter’s staff say detecting cancer early is often key to forming a treatment plan.
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women in the United States.
“Nationwide, 11 percent of breast cancer diagnoses are under the age of 45. Locally, 19 percent of the population that I navigate is under the age of 50,” said Breast Cancer Nurse Navigator Pam Sasser, RN.
St. Peter’s recommends all women, regardless of age, to complete regular self-exams to detect tissue abnormalities.
If any irregularity is found the person should follow up immediately with their physician to discuss any concerns.
For more information about the mammogram program at St. Peter’s Health visit their website here.