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Weekend Check-Up


October 27, 2018


Announcing 3D Breast Imaging in Cowley County


By Deb Ward, BSRT, Radiology Director at William Newton HospitalDeb ward

Mammograms (breast imaging) have been performed for more than half a century to diagnose breast abnormalities.  The technology has advanced to today’s fully digital mammogram with decreased radiation and 3D (tomographic) imaging with impressive results of 41 percent increase in invasive cancer detection and a 20 percent decrease in recall rate from screening mammography. A 29 percent increase in the detection of all breast cancers is significant for the roughly 40 million patients undergoing annual mammography in the U.S. and to the 54 percent of the women of Cowley County that  have annual screening mammograms.

What do these numbers mean to the women of Cowley County? Invasive breast cancers are cancers that spread from the breast to other parts of the body making them more difficult to treat;  studies have shown with 3D mammography there is a 41 percent increase in detection (the earlier the abnormality is detected the sooner treatment options can be obtained).

Many times a woman is called back for additional imaging due to an abnormality seen on a screening mammogram, but with 3D imaging the recall rate has shown to decrease and less women are called back because the area in question can be identified more clearly on the 3D images (less recalls also mean less anxiety for many women). The study findings reveal cancers are detected 29 percent more with 3D mammography, and that is good news for the women of Cowley County because we now have 3D (tomosynthesis) mammography right here in our locale (3D imaging can find cancers earlier than 2D mammography alone).

William Newton Hospital (WNH) has a Hologic 3D state-of-the-art mammography system and the dedicated mammography staff would like to see more than 54 percent of the women of Cowley County get their annual mammograms and utilize the services at WNH. The combination of specially trained technologists and radiologists to perform and interpret the images and the technology of the 3D imaging is a service that can be obtained locally to improve healthcare and find abnormalities before they can be found on other 2D mammography systems.

The following statement is quoted from the American College of Radiology (ACR): “To be clear; digital breast tomosynthesis (3D) is no longer investigational. Tomosynthesis has been shown to improve key screening parameters compared to digital mammography.” The ACR, Society of Breast Imaging and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, among others, recommend that all women have yearly mammograms beginning at age 40. Women at high risk may benefit from starting earlier.

3D is an amazing technology that allows the radiologist to “scroll” through the breast images one millimeter at a time to see very subtle abnormalities that may be missed with traditional mammography. Similar to flipping through the pages of a book, the images are scrolled through and any abnormality can be seen free of overlapping tissue that may obscure the same area on an image taken with an older mammography unit with less advanced technology.

This new 3D technology is performed at the same time as the traditional mammographic views and only adds a few seconds more to the testing time and requires no additional compression. Benefits are numerous to tomosynthesis for all women, but especially in younger women and women with dense breasts.

The Kansas Insurance Department, announced in August 2018 that the 3D mammography benefit shall apply to health insurances on or after January 1, 2019 per Ken Selzer, Insurance Department Commissioner.  Several insurance companies currently cover 3D mammography, but on or after January 1, 2019 all health insurers will cover 3D mammograms in the State of Kansas. This is a win-win for both the patient and the physician, and will take advantage of modern technology right here in Cowley County at no additional cost to the patient.

We look forward to serving your imaging needs. Call 620-221-2300 to schedule at William Newton Hospital.


The "Weekend Check-Up" is a regular health column published in the Cowley Courier Traveler penned by employees and friends of William Newton Hospital.