By Sabina Mollot
With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Bellevue Hospital has recently invested in new 3D mammogram imaging technology, which studies have shown leads to earlier detection of breast cancer. The hospital has also purchased new biopsy machines, which are needed to read the images from the mammography technology, known as Digital Breast Homesynthesis.
Dr. Hildegard Toth, section chief of breast imaging at Bellevue, said the new technology was a very important development in breast imaging as it reduces false positives, which in turn reduces the chances patients will be called back for follow-up visits. According to peer-reviewed papers that have looked at the technology as used in 13 centers, the number of patients being called back for followup appointments was reduced by 15 percent.
It also is able to detect early cases of cancer, which means in those cases, patients have more options for treatment.
“Generally, these are small cancers, less aggressive and would not have been found otherwise,” Toth said.
The way the imaging system works is that it’s able to produce a series of images of the breast, which can then be broken down and reconstructed to show breast tissue in multiple slice-like sections, not unlike a loaf of bread.
“It affords the ability to reduce the effects of tissue overlap, because sometimes you have breast tissue that is superimposed and you’ll be unable to distinguish an abnormality from something that’s benign,” Toth said.