3D Mammogram Machines Catching More Cancer

KEZI-TV, Nov. 20th, 2015

EUGENE, Ore. -- New recommendations on mammograms may have you questioning when you should go in for your first screening. But, whether you make your appointment when you're 40, 45 or 50, one doctor in Eugene says there should be no question about where you get your test done.

Oregon Imaging is the only place in Lane County that offers 3D mammography. Doctor Jonathan Sims says the machines have been in Eugene since August and they're already detecting more cancers. "The fact that you're able to make such a confident diagnosis," said Sims. "It's really a game changer."

He says the machines provide the ability to rule out cancer, so it lowers your callback rate. Sims says the 3D machine gets better images, making it easier to diagnose two of the three ways cancer shows up on a mammogram. "One of the problems with mammography is it's kind of taken a three dimensional structure and squishing it and making a 2 dimensional image," said Sims. "When you do that a lot of things overlap, a lot of shadows are cast upon one another. With 3D mammography, you're kind of able to scroll through and take all those overlapping structures out."

He says they've experienced a 40 percent reduction in callback rates, going from roughly 7.5 percent to 4 percent. The national average is 10 percent.

Patients are also seeing a 30 percent reduction in radiation exposure.

Sims says we're at the lowest mortality rate for breast cancer ever and as more of the 3D machines are put into use, that rate will go down even more. But, as advanced as the machine is, it's only one tool in the fight against breast cancer. "The paradigm that has been shown repeatedly to decrease breast cancer mortality the most, that catches breast cancers the smallest... is screening beginning at age 40, monthly breast self exams and yearly clinical exams," said Sims. That contradicts the latest guidelines by the American Cancer Society that say women should get mammograms starting at the age of 45, not 40.

The ACS also says women can skip monthly self breast checks and annual clinical checks by doctors. "These guidelines say no self breast exams, clinical breast exams are questionable and are discouraged," said Sims. "If you work here, you know that a lot of breast cancers actually present themselves as lumps." He says the point of diagnosing breast cancer is to diagnose it when it's really more of an inconvenience for the woman and not a life threatening illness.

His advice to his patients… continue to do all three.

Please note: The original footage of this article can be watched here:

For site security and patient privacy concerns, we do not link to external sites.

Thank you to KEZI for its help spreading the word about 3D.