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Banner Lakes' 3D mammogram gives clearer images

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SUN CITY, Ariz. -

One west valley facility just started using a new 3D mammogram machine that helps doctors detect breast cancer more accurately.

55-year-old Dana Montagnese is getting her annual breast exam on a new 3d mammogram-machine. As she stands against the machine, an x-ray arm moves over the entire breast, quickly taking a series of several thin images.

"These are the pictures of it actually slicing through the breast at those little millimeter increments," said Ann Schwartz, Banner Lakes Imaging coordinator.

Doctors can examine these thin slices one image at a time, allowing them to detect cancer more clearly than with a 2D image.

"You can tell whether it's a benign lesion or a cancerous lesion with much more accuracy with this technology," said diagnostic radiologist Dr. Menakshi Bellapravalu.

Dr. Bellapravalu showed us a dark spot on an image of breast tissue.

On a flat, 2D image, it would be difficult to say whether or not the spot in cancerous.  With the 3D image, she has no doubt.

"Just looking at it now, I can tell definitely this is a lymph node."

With such diagnostic confidence, patients get called back for additional exams much less frequently; up to 39%, according to one study.

Hospital administrator Lisa Frank knows the value of not having to wait and worry for follow up testing. Her very first 2D mammogram produced a false positive reading.

"I happen to have some veins that when my breast is compressed, look like it could be a finding that requires further investigation.  With this technology, I no longer have to have that done.  They can slice it and kind of pull it apart and see that it's kind of nothing of significance," she said.

Banner Lakes Imaging Center is the first facility in the west valley to have this 3D technology.  Now the cost of the machine is twice as much as the 2D version, but the cost to the patient is exactly the same.

The mammogram feels the same, too.

Dana said her comfort level was no different on the 3D machine than on the traditional one.  And since software can use the 3D data to create traditional 2D images, patients avoid any additional radiation from a secondary 2D exam.

"It's beautiful technology.  I'm just amazed how more I can see with this technology," said Bellapravalu.

Banner Lakes Imaging Center
10474 W. Thunderbird Blvd., Suite 100
Sun City, AZ 85351
(623) 832-5316

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