Catching breast cancer earlier – you can’t put a price on that

KMTR, Sept. 16th, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - As Dr. Jonathan Sims at Oregon Imaging Centers compares different images taken of the same patient, he highlights the difference a new technology can make.

"On the right we have 3D mammograms; on the left we have 2D mammograms," Sims explains.

The standard 2D mammogram does a great job of detecting a cancer in one area of the right breast.

"But it completely misses the breast cancer in the upper aspect of the right breast, which we very easily see on the 3D mammogram right there," he says.

3D mammography provides images of "slices" of the breast from different angles, instead of just the front and sides.

"The ability to see structures that were previously hidden by overlying breast tissue," Sims explains.

He says the new technology provides better accuracy for patients: a 41 percent increase in detecting invasive breast cancers.

According to the American Cancer Society, 3D mammograms use more radiation than the traditional 2D* but may reduce the amount of times a woman is called back for a second look at an abnormality.

"We're able to get upwards of 120 different images of the breast while exposing the patient to about 20 percent less radiation than we were a month ago," Sims says.

While the majority of insurance providers cover the 3D option, there could be an additional cost around $150.

That's a price Sims says could save a life.

"It's really unquantifiable because catching catching breast cancer earlier - you can't put a price on that," he says.

Editor’s note: The Hologic 3D Genius equipment Oregon Imaging Centers purchased actually uses less radiation than 2D.

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