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Health Beat: 3D mammography a 'game-changer' in breast cancer detection

By Melanie Falcon, Anchor / Reporter, @Melanie_Falcon, MFalcon@wfmz.com
Published On: Jun 09 2014 09:22:31 AM CDT
Updated On: Jun 10 2014 04:47:14 PM CDT

One in eight women will get breast cancer in her lifetime. Experts agree the key to successfully fighting the disease is early detection.

TAMPA, Fla. -

One in eight women will get breast cancer in her lifetime. Experts agree the key to successfully fighting the disease is early detection.

New technology is available that can provide doctors a more detailed image. Some call the machine a game-changer in breast cancer detection.

"I think it's a huge leap forward," said Dr. Ronald Prati Jr., radiologist/medical director, Florida Hospital Tampa.

Prati said tomosynthesis, or 3D mammograms, doubles the cancer detection rate and decreases callbacks for additional testing. The machine images multiple layers of the breast.

"It's the difference between trying to look through a loaf of bread verses pulling out individual slices and looking at them," Prati explained.

Prati showed an image of a conventional mammogram next to a 3D image, which detected cancer.

Breast cancer patient, Shelby Coriaty, wishes the technology had been available years ago. It could have changed her life.

"I went for my very first mammogram and actually got a clean bill of health, so I went on my way thinking, 'Alright, I've done all those things I'm supposed to do,' and about three months after that, I actually had an itch in my armpit and I felt a golf ball," said Coriaty, who had breast cancer.

Eighteen surgeries later, Coriaty encourages other women, like Amy Janes, to get annual screenings. Janes was one of the first to try tomosynthesis.

"It really wasn't any different other than you notice the machine move slightly, unlike the 2D mammogram is stationary," Janes said.

And with 3D in the mix, the fight against breast cancer is magnified.

Doctors said the 3D images can be beneficial for young women who have dense breast tissue, which is sometimes more difficult to screen.

Insurance companies, however, do not cover tomosynthesis until January 2015, but Florida Hospital Tampa offers it for free. Patients in other cities will want to check with their hospitals or insurance companies prior to undergoing the test.

DOWNLOAD and VIEW research summary and an in-depth interview with the doctor