The Methodist Germantown Breast Center is one of the first women’s centers in the United States and the first center in Memphis to offer 3D breast tomosynthesis (DBT) for breast cancer diagnostic exams. 3D mammography offers incredibly sharp images of the breast and helps doctors more effectively pinpoint, the size, shape and location of any abnormalities. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration consider this technology to be a significant advancement for diagnosing breast cancer.
Photo: Dr. Linda Hodgkiss, medical director of the Methodist Germantown Breast Center, reviews a patient's 3Ddiagnostic mammogram for any signs of cancer.
“3D tomosynthesis gives us the ability to see things, particularly in dense breast tissue, that we could not see before. Additionally, it gives us the ability to better detect smaller cancers,” explains Linda Hodgkiss, M.D., medical director for the Methodist Germantown Breast Center and a radiologist with Memphis Radiological Professional Corporation (MRPC). “The ability to see more clearly and identify smaller cancers directly translates into finding cancer in its earlier stages when the disease is more curable.”
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women, exceeded only by lung cancer. Statistics indicate that one in eight women will develop breast cancer sometime in her lifetime. The stage at which breast cancer is detected impacts a woman’s chance of survival. If detected early, the five-year survival rate is 97 percent.
Rather than taking a single picture of the entire thickness of the breast, 3D mammography involves taking multiple low-dose images of the breast from different angles. These images are then used to produce a series of one millimeter slices or layers that can be viewed as a 3D reconstruction of the breast. Radiologists have the ability to evaluate each individual layer in much greater detail.
Another significant advantage 3D mammography has over digital mammography is allowing radiologists to identify and characterize individual breast structures without the confusion of overlapping tissue. Radiologists at the Methodist Germantown Breast Center say the 3D images captured with digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) reveal much more detail which will help them detect cancer sooner and will decrease the need for biopsies.
“Tomosynthesis is an exciting revolutionary technology that gives us the ability to scroll through each slice or layer of tissue to see what it really looks like,” says Dr. Hodgkiss. “This allows for better tissue characterization, improved tumor visualization, and higher diagnostic accuracy.”
The Methodist Germantown Breast Center staff works with the highly trained specialists at Memphis Radiological, PC, and its partners at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and The West Clinic to bring cutting-edge resources together to treat patients better.
To learn more about 3D breast tomosynthesis visit methodisthealth.org/3D.