St. Joseph Healthcare has introduced 3D Mammography, the latest advance in breast imaging, at its Regional Breast Care Center in Bangor. “This will make a huge difference in how breast cancer is detected, diagnosed and treated,” says Pam Sirois, director of the Center. “The images produced by this technology are so much sharper than conventional mammography.”
The precise imaging produced by 3D mammography has definite potential for saving lives. It can find problem growths in the breast much earlier, at a stage when cancer, if found, is most successfully treated. “Our community has affirmed the need for this new, life-saving technology,” said Sue Bernier, the Executive Director for Philanthropy at St. Joseph Foundation. “We are so grateful that funding for this wonderful project was provided entirely by gifts from donors to our 2016 Annual Campaign.”
Along with much improved imaging, 3D mammography is achieved with the same x-ray dose and level of comfort as before. This means there is no increased radiation exposure to patients during a 3D breast exam. The 3D system at St. Joseph Regional Breast Care Center delivers the lowest patient dose of all FDA-approved systems.
3D offers greater peace of mind
3D imaging can tell more precisely the difference between cancer and harmless growths in the breast. 3D detects more cancers and it reduces the number of false-positive results given to patients. In most non-cancer cases 3D mammography by itself can ensure the patient is cancer-free, ruling out the need to be called back and wait for a biopsy.
In addition, the new technology provides clear images even in women with dense breast tissue, which sometimes renders regular mammography ineffective. “Until now, dense breast tissue has been a limitation to getting useful mammography images,” notes Sirois. “But now, thanks to 3D imaging, the radiologist will be able to more precisely distinguish overlapping normal breast densities from potential cancers.”
Many major insurance carriers fully cover the cost of 3D mammography. This is a Medicare covered service when referred by a primary care or specialty care provider. Some insurance providers are not yet covering this new technology, in which case patients may be responsible for up to $200 in co-pays and/or fees associated with the 3D mammography. Should a patient decline this latest technology, a digital mammogram will be offered as has previously been provided. Patients with questions about 3D mammography coverage should connect with their insurance carrier.