Doctors agree early detection increases a woman's chance of
surviving breast cancer. If found early, and before it reaches the
lymph nodes, the five-year breast cancer survival rate is 100
percent for patients with stage 0 or stage 1 cancer and 93% for
those with stage 2 cancer, according to the National Cancer
Institute's SEER database. Until now, digital mammography-a
2-dimensional picture of the breast, has been the standard
screening tool to detect cancer.
Digital breast tomosynthesis, also known as 3D mammography,
offers a more accurate look at the breast. It allows the
radiologist to examine your breast tissue one layer at a time. 3D
mammography converts digital breast images into a stack of very
thin layers or "slices" to build what is essentially a
A good analogy for 3D mammography is like pages in a book. Look
at the cover and you cannot see all of the pages. Open it up and
you can go through the entire book page-by-page to see everything
between the covers. 3D mammography shows the radiologist all of the
pages in the book.
3D mammograms provide improved visibility of breast tissue which
Low x-ray energy is used during the screening so radiation
exposure is below the FDA guidelines and is the equivalent to
current 2D mammograms.
Guidelines are the same as for mammography in general: yearly
mammograms starting at age 40. Women above age 40
(who have no symptoms) should have an annual
mammogram. Screening with mammography should
continue as long as the woman is in good health and is willing to
undergo additional testing (including biopsy) if an abnormality is
detected. Finally, if you are or may be at high risk
for breast cancer, you should speak with your doctor to decide if
additional screening tests might be right for you.
A 3D mammogram is similar to a traditional mammogram. The
technologist positions you, compresses your breast under a paddle
and takes images from different angles.
The technologist reviews the images right at the workstation to
ensure the images are adequate for the radiologist to review. Your
results will be sent to your primary care physician or OB/GYN to
discuss with you.
On the day of the exam, do not wear deodorant, talcum powder or
lotion under your arms or on your breasts. Describe any breast
symptoms or problems you may have to the technologist performing
the exam. If possible, obtain prior mammograms and make them
available to the radiologist at the time of the current exam.
At the Rockwood Breast Health Center, there is no additional
charge for 3D mammography compared to 2D mammograms. If the
radiologic technician fee for a 3D mammogram is not covered by your
insurance, the cost is $65.
To schedule your 3D screening mammogram, please call the
Rockwood Breast Health Center at (509) 755-5801. A physician order
is not necessary for a screening mammogram. For your convenience,
early morning and Saturday appointments are available.
*Comparative data using 3D and 2D mammography to detect
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Rockwood Clinic was established in 1930