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Published on July 14, 2014

Cedar Rapids breast imaging facilities now offering the newest advancement in mammography

As part of a joint community-wide effort, Mercy Medical Center, is pleased to announce 3D mammography (digital breast tomosynthesis) for breast cancer screening is now available in Cedar Rapids. Mercy is one of four facilities that has purchased 3D mammography systems and are now offering this technology for examinations.

3D mammography takes multiple low dose images of the breast at different angles. The result is a series of one millimeter thick slices that can be viewed as a 3D reconstruction of the breast.

A recent study published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) demonstrated 3D mammography finds a 41 percent increase in the detection of invasive breast cancers and a 29 percent increase in the detection of all breast cancers as compared to conventional 2D mammography alone. The use of 3D mammography has also seen up to a 15 percent reduction in recall rates. This decrease in call backs is expected to reduce the number of patients needing additional imaging for possible mammographic changes on their screening exams.

“This is exciting technology, which we are happy to bring to our community," said Dr. Laura Hemann, radiologist at RCI and medical director at Mercy Women's Center. "Because 3D mammography can detect breast cancer at an earlier stage than conventional mammography, this new tool may lead to fewer breast cancer-related deaths. It does find breast cancers that are smaller and more difficult to see on standard mammograms."

Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among women, exceeded only by lung cancer. Statistics indicate one in eight women will develop breast cancer sometime in her lifetime. The stage at which breast cancer is detected influences a woman’s chance of survival. If detected early, the five-year survival rate is 98 percent.

The American Cancer Society recommends that all women receive annual mammograms beginning at age 40 – and consult with their doctor earlier if they have a family history of breast cancer.

To learn more about 3D mammography, or to schedule an appointment, please contact Mercy Women’s Center at (319) 398-6821.

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