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Alton Memorial gets second 3D mammogram unit

ALTON — Alton Memorial Hospital has acquired its second 3D mammogram machine, and it is now approved for use by both the American College of Radiology and Mammography Quality Standards Act.

amhmammogramunitIn February 2015, AMH was the first hospital in the area to use digital 3D tomosynthesis, a revolutionary new tool to improve the early detection of breast cancer. Used in combination with traditional 2D mammography, 3D is Alton Memorial Hospital’s standard of care for screening and diagnostic imaging.

Digital breast tomosynthesis, more commonly known as 3D mammography, is the most exciting advancement in breast cancer detection in more than 30 years. An X-ray arm sweeps over the breast, taking multiple images in just seconds. A computer then produces a 3D image of your breast tissue in one-millimeter layers. Images are displayed as a series of thin slices, providing doctors with a clearer view through overlapping breast tissue.

“This allows AMH radiologists to examine the tissue one thin layer at a time, in a sense traveling through the structure of the breast like pages of a book,” says Stacey Ballard, manager of Oncology at AMH. “Fine details are more visible and are less likely to be hidden by overlapping tissue.”

Research has proven the effectiveness of 3D mammography, demonstrating increases in early detection of breast cancer by 54 percent and decreases in recall rates by 37 percent. Early detection contributes to long-term survival and also to quality of life, as masses found earlier will likely result in less aggressive treatment.

“No additional breast compression is required for a 3D mammogram,” Ballard says. “The exam looks and feels like mammograms you’ve had in the past – it just takes a few seconds longer. 3D mammography is much more effective in detecting more breast cancers, which means one simple thing: early detection.”

Advantages of 3D mammography

• Improves detection of breast cancer 10 percent to 30 percent over 2D imaging alone.
• Provides peace of mind due to greater clarity and accuracy.
• Reduces the likelihood of call-backs for further imaging by as much as 30 percent.
For more information, call (618) 463-7414 at Alton Memorial Hospital.

PHOTO: Deb Rowden, a mammography tech in Alton Memorial’s Medical Imaging department, prepares a patient for her 3D mammogram.

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