Bayhealth offers 3-D mammography

October 15, 2015
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and what better time for Bayhealth Medical Center to announce the availability of the latest technology in breast cancer detection — 3D mammography — at all of its mammography centers throughout Delaware. Bayhealth is the first health system in the state to have this technology in all of its mammography centers making it convenient to have this exam no matter where you live. Several of Bayhealth’s 16 fellowship-trained radiologists had specific training to read the 3D mammograms properly.
As explained by the National Cancer Institute, a mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breast. A periodic screening mammogram is used to check for cancer in women who have no signs or symptoms of the disease. Diagnostic mammograms are used to check for breast cancer after a lump or symptom of the disease has been found.
“The current standard for mammography is 2D (two-dimensional),” said John Desiderio, FACHE, MBA, administrative director of operations for Bayhealth’s Diagnostic Imaging Department. A 2D mammogram gives various views of the breast, but — to put it in layman’s terms — “doesn’t (photographically) slice the breast into highly detailed segments like a CAT scan would.”
Three-dimensional (3D) mammography uses X-rays to take pictures of thin slices of the breast from different angles, then computer software is used to reconstruct an image. Desiderio said, “A good analogy is looking at a loaf of bread unsliced and then sliced. The unsliced is 2D and the sliced is 3D. You see a lot more when you view the breast in slices.”
Whereas with 2D imagery a tumor might be concealed, particularly in dense breast tissue, the 3D slices reveal more pathology. The new technology “picks up more than 40 percent more invasive cancers than 2D,” Desiderio said. “There is also a 29 percent increase in detection of all types of cancer. Some are not invasive,” he continued.
“Those are significant numbers, a huge added benefit that comes with 3D,” he said.
“With 3D mammography, there is a 15 percent decrease in the number of patients who are called back for additional views and testing,” Desiderio added. “When a woman gets that call, she usually thinks something is wrong. So 3D mammography decreases anxiety by decreasing the number of patients who may receive a call back.”
The advanced technology also has been shown to reduce false positives, thereby cutting down on the number of biopsies and, again, reducing anxiety.
The technology is FDA accredited and all units have been accredited by the American College of Radiology, Desiderio said, which means they meet national standards of quality.
He also noted, “3D mammography has been available for several years now, but it did not become standard protocol until studies showed its true value. Hospitals are just now starting to implement it on a large scale. Bayhealth likes to be on the cutting edge of any imaging that benefits our community, so we spent two million dollars so all our facilities can perform 3D imaging. That may seem like a large sum of money, but it is miniscule compared to the number of cancers we will be able to treat in early stages due to better detection. At Bayhealth we are determined to provide our patients with the best care possible.” 
Patients like going to the same place for testing, Desiderio said, and they get used to the same technologist. With units in every location, they don’t have to travel far to benefit from 3D; they can have it done in their community by technologists and doctors that they know and trust.
Every woman who comes in for a mammogram will get 3D testing, unless she declines it, Desiderio said. To be clear, he stressed, patients will still have 2D mammography performed. Both tests are done at the same time.
If cancer is found, Bayhealth Cancer Centers can provide a great continuum of care without traveling to a distant academic center, Desiderio said.
As a member of the Penn Cancer Network, Bayhealth is the only cancer program in Delaware affiliated with a National Cancer Institute–designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. Along with expert cancer care at Bayhealth comes the added advantage of the shared knowledge and skill of the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania.
Bayhealth is a not-for-profit health care system that includes two hospitals and several satellite facilities. Bayhealth offers Diagnostic Imaging services from Middletown to Milton, located near where you work or live. All provide ample parking, same day or next day appointments, esthetically pleasing environments, and exceptional customer service.
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