ANDERSON, S.C. (WSPA) – AnMed Health has been using 3D mammograms, in addition to the traditional mammograms, to find breast cancer in patients.
The hospital currently has two machines that can perform both 3D and 2D screenings.
The hospital got its first 3D unit in the fall of 2017 and the second machine in March of 2019.
Radiologist Dr. Monica Grier has worked for AnMead Health since 1999 and said she’s noticed a difference from traditional to 3D images.
“With conventional mammography, we’ll have super imposed tissue, particularly in those patients that have dense breast patterns. We’ll have to call them back for additional images. With our ability to look at the thin images with the 3D technology, that percentage rate is drastically reduced,” Dr. Grier said.
Breast cancer warrior Pat Harrison dealt with that recall issue.
Back in 2017, Harrison found a lump in her left breast and went to get a traditional mammogram. Her tests came back negative.
Harrison went and had another mammogram, using 3D machine. She was then diagnosed with Stage II triple negative breast cancer.
“I just want to spread the word of how important it is for mammograms, for 3D mammograms [and] self exams. It is extremely important,” Harrison said.
Harrison noted alarming statistics. She said women of color are dying more from breast cancer. She mentioned breast cancer is the most common cause of death among Hispanic women.
“I’m here to help others as well as myself along the way,” Harrison said.
Dr. Grier said patients with dense or complex breast tissue patterns, a history of breast cancer or a family history with breast cancer, should think about 3D mammograms due to the types of images it takes.
“We find an increased detection rate across the board with 3D mammography in all breast types,” Dr. Grier said.
Images from a 3D mammogram are similar to a topography map, in the sense that both show individual layers. Dr. Grier said these layers can give doctors more clarity.
She noted the detection rate can be a much as 30 to 40% better in 3D versus the traditional mammograms.
The Centers for Disease and Control has not said one specific type of mammogram is better than another.
Kim Mcleod, a radiation technician of 23 years, said the 3D is worth getting done if it’s covered by insurance. The process is the same as getting a traditional mammogram.
“Whether it’s 2D or 3D. It is still four pictures, two of each breast. One from the top and then a side picture,” Mcleod said. “It is not nearly as terrifying or doesn’t hurt nearly as bad as what people have told them in the past. I always tell [first time patients] don’t listen to people.”
Harrison said there was not any cancer in her family until she was diagnosed. Nine months into remission, she found through a CT scan that the cancer was also on her lung.
There is currently no cure for metastatic triple negative breast cancer, but that doesn’t mean she’s lost hope.
“Now I know there are patients out there that I have met that were given two years to live. One is still here eight years later. There’s another one 19 years later,” Harrison said.
No matter the type of mammogram everyone should get one.
Click here for more information on 3D Mammograms.