Diagnosis: Breast lump via 3-D mammography
Carolyn Brock is a pioneer.
The 45-year-old married mother of two made history at EvergreenHealth in July 2011 when she became the first to experience the new 3-dimensional mammography known as tomosynthesis.
It’s the newest weapon in EvergreenHealth’s cancer-fighting arsenal.
Carolyn's journey began when her primary care provider saw something of concern with Carolyn's left breast and referred her to the EvergreenHealth Breast Health Center for a mammogram.
“They first did a regular mammogram, but the results weren’t clear because of my dense breast tissue,” she recalls. “That’s when we did the 3-dimensional mammogram.”
“3-dimensional mammography is similar to a conventional mammogram as far as the patient is concerned,” explains radiologist Dr. Kara Carlson, medical director of the EvergreenHealth Breast Health Center.
“The breast is positioned the same way; then the breast is compressed to disperse the breast tissue.”
The difference is in the remarkable 3-D technology.
“The X-ray tube moves in an arc around the breast, collecting multiple images during the exam,” Dr. Carlson adds.
“That information, collected at one-millimeter intervals throughout the breast, is then sent to a computer, which assembles them to produce clear, highly focused 3-dimensional images. Those images can reveal cancers not seen by regular 2-dimensional mammograms.”
There are several advantages to 3-dimensional mammography, with the first being its ability to detect breast cancer at its earliest, most treatable stages.
EvergreenHealth’s survival rates are already impressive, beating national and state standards; the addition of 3-dimensional mammography holds the promise of offering women an even more hopeful future.
Another advantage is peace of mind.
“If I’d only had a routine mammogram, I definitely would have been called back because of my dense breast tissue,” Brock reveals. “That would have meant days of worry and waiting. With this new 3-D machine, I got the all-clear right away...and not having to worry is a big thing!”
Dr. Carlson shares Brock’s enthusiasm.
“Because the 3-D images are so precise, we’re seeing about a 40 percent decrease in the number of women having to come back for additional views, which is remarkable.”
EvergreenHealth's first 3-D mammography unit was funded by donations made at the EvergreenHealth Gala and raised the money needed to purchase the new technology.
The Breast Health Center was the first facility in King County to offer 3-dimensional mammography.
“Washington state has one of the highest incidences of breast cancer in the nation,” Dr. Carlson states, “so I appreciate that EvergreenHealth stays very much at the forefront of technology, especially when it comes to breast imaging detection. We are committed to providing the best care and technology for our patients.”
You can make a mammography appointment online or by phone at 425.899.2831.