3-D mammography is a game changer on the Suncoast

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MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. -- Suncoast women now have another tool to diagnose breast cancer.

Of the many tests available to diagnose breast cancer, mammograms still reign supreme. Now 3-D helps not only detect more breast cancers, but also cuts down on call backs for additional testing.

3-D mammography is an absolute game changer, says Dr. Richard Steinman of Lakewood Ranch Medical Center. “3-D tomosynthesis, 3-D mammography, improves the detection rate of cancer at an earlier stage, and allows earlier treatment and better survival.”

These are the pros:

“It’s a more comfortable exam, there’s less compression, and she can breathe throughout the exam, instead of holding her breath.”

He says it’s a better quality exam, but there's slightly larger dose of radiation. “It is still well below the normal requirements of the FDA for digital mammography, low dose digital mammography.”

For many, the benefits far outweigh any risk. “I was diagnosed at age 43. I never had any history of illnesses ever, and have six children,” says Mary Redman.

Early detection saved her life. “Thankfully we have those tools available to us. It’s extremely important.”

Registered nurse Rebecca Groshner of Florida Blue educates Suncoast women on the importance of early detection. “I think that the 3-D mammography is very exciting. I think that having another tool is so important.”

The tool offers more precision. “You can see down through one millimeter layers of the breast tissue,” says Tracy Legutko at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center.

Lakewood Ranch Medical Center was the first to offer 3-D mammography on the Suncoast. It is there for all women getting mammograms.

“She automatically gets tomosynthesis, because it’s their standard of care. The advantage of tomosynthesis is that you can look for the specific layer, something like this bright calcification is in. When they take the imagery, they combine the digital imagery with the tomosynthesis. Same amount of time, same amount of clicks.”

It is more expensive, but to many it’s worth it. “I would give anything, pay anything to not have cancer.”

The initial upfront cost is slightly greater, but most insurance will cover that. But the benefits are the call back rates are less, and the need for additional imaging studies are also less.