One in eight American women will develop breast cancer. To combat the deadly cancer United Regional unveiled new 3D technology for breast screenings. In 2011 the hospital performed 5,2000 mammograms. With this new technology they hope to increase the number of area women screened and save lives through early detection.
"The 3D imaging will allow the radiologist when he sits down and views the images to look at each millimeter of breast tissue," said Susan Basham, Mammography Coordinator for United Regional.
3D Mammography often referred to as Breast Tomosynthesis allows the radiologist to study the images of the breast with more clarity.
"Instead of one image in a two dimensional study he can see 15 different images," said Basham.
Dr. Paul Bice has 26 years of experience as a diagnostic radiologist. He's seen technology continue to develop.
"We've gone from zero mammography, to the film screen, to the digital technique and this is an additional tool called tomosynthesis that allows us to see earlier breast cancers in very dense breasts," he said.
Dr. Bice can zoom in and catch anything out of the ordinary.
"You can see where this early cancer is forming right here," he said pinpointing it on a computer screen.
Christy Miller recently went through the process of a breast screening. She has fibrocystic breast disease. Both her mother and aunt died from breast cancer. This new 3D technology gives her relief in knowing her screenings will give doctors a better chance at spotting cancer.
"They do watch because it can turn into something. Anything can turn malignant at any time," she said.
The key for doctors at United Regional is early detection. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancers deaths among women. If detected early the five year survival rate is 98 percent.
The company who developed this technology, Hologic, reports 5,000 medical centers have a digital mammography system, but less than 100 have installed this new 3D system. United Regional says the hospital is the only one in the 11 county area that has this equipment.
Patients report it is more comfortable and takes less time. Doctors says the screening is safe and takes about half the time of a 2D screening appointment.