A Life-Saving, Medical Break-through
3-D Mammography comes to LCMH; far out-paces 2-D for cancer screening
Breast health for women - and, don’t forget, men, you can get this cancer, too - got big shot in the arm last week as GHS Laurens County Memorial Hospital announced first-in-this-region 3-D Mammography availability at the hospital located between Clinton and Laurens.
LCMH is the only hospital in this, the Southern GHS Region comprised of Laurens, Greenwood, Newberry and Abbeville, to have this 3-D imaging system. The three other GHS regions’ hospitals also have 3-D Mammography, according to information presented last Wednesday at a GHS LCMH luncheon.
The first 3-D mammogram in Laurens County was done June 19 at LCMH. A photo shown at the luncheon labeled it a “Historic Moment!”
An info sheet said, “Why is 3-D better than 2-D mammography? 3-D Mammography takes more images. Then, a computer converts those images into thin layers. Our dedicated radiologists can review breast tissue a single layer at a time. As a result, little tissue overlap occurs. With 2-D mammography, overlapping tissue is more common because fewer images are taken. Thus, small cancers may be missed and normal tissue look abnormal.”
“It’s going to be huge for the community,” said Thomas Moore, MBA, manager, radiology services.
“GHS has made a tremendous effort to put this technology into rural communities. So women do not have to drive an hour up the road.”
A screening mammography is done first. If an abnormality is suspected, the patient is called back for a diagnostic procedure. Screenings generally do not require a physician’s referral - the patient herself can ask for a screening if a self-exam, medical problem or family history produces a concern. Screenings are recommended for all women turning 40.
“Forty percent of women have dense breast, and that makes it more difficult to detect cancer,” said Amanda Scopteuolo, MD, medical director, GHS Breast Imaging. “There are less false-positives with 3-D. (These mean) more cost, more anxiety and more time taken by the patient. 3-D mammography has gotten me the most excited I’ve been in my career.”
Information from genius3D Mammography Exam advises women, “You have the right to an annual screening mammogram starting at 40. There is a lot of conflicting guidance about when to start and how often to get a mammogram. Currently, all women in the United States can receive mammograms annually starting at age 40. That is your right. That is the law.”
The information sheet says 1 in 8 women living in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, and 3 out of 4 of those diagnosed with breast cancer have no known risk factors.
Twenty-five percent of women who die from breast cancer are diagnosed in their 40s; however, if the breast cancer is detected before it has spread, the chance for a cure is nearly 100 percent.
Moore said the GHS LCMH radiology department can examine 25 to 30 women a day with the 3-D technology. It does take a bit longer - a few seconds, Moore said - than the traditional 2-D kind, but it does not hurt more, or hurt less, than a traditional mammogram. Insurance companies have to cover screening mammograms, according to the Affordable Care Act. Insurance provisions differ when it comes to diagnostic mammograms, panel participants said.
Dr. David Williams, chief clinical officer of the GHS Southern Region, said the LCMH Radiology staff receives consistently high marks on patient experience surveys.
He added, “These women, by far, serve the largest population of special needs patients, and they have their own challenges.”
(How to schedule a 3-D Mammogram - Call 1-866-465-XRAY (9729) or schedule an appointment online using MyChart. More info about the technology: mygenius3d.com)