Skip to main content

Now offering 3-D mammography

Hospital news | Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Contact: Laurie Gronning

Whitman Hospital is excited to offer Hologic 3-D Mammography for breast cancer screening coming as soon as April 2015. 3-D mammography produces a three-dimensional view of the breast tissue that helps radiologists identify and characterize individual breast structures without the confusion of overlapping tissue.

In the June 25, 2014 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), a groundbreaking study was published that found Hologic's 3-D mammography (breast Tomosynthesis) screening technology significantly increased breast cancer detection while simultaneously reducing the number of false positives.

The study, "Breast Cancer Screening Using Tomosynthesis in Combination with Digital Mammography," that reviewed close to half a million mammography exams, was led by Sarah M. Friedewald, MD of the Caldwell Breast Cancer Center, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois. The researchers found that 3-D mammography finds significantly more invasive or lethal cancers than the traditional mammogram. According to the study's results, 3-D mammography also reduces the number of women called back for unnecessary screenings due to the false alarms. That reduces anxiety, as well as healthcare costs.

Significant findings include:

  • A 41 percent increase in the detection of invasive breast cancers.
  • A 29 percent increase in the detection of all breast cancers.
  • A 15 percentdecrease in women recalled for additional imaging.
  • A 49percent increase in Positive Predictive Value (PPV) for a recall.
  • A 21 percentincrease in PPV for biopsy.
  • No significant change in the detection of ductal carcinoma in situ.

This study, using Hologic 3-D mammography systems, involved 13 U.S. breast screening sites and 139 radiologists.

With regard to funding for the projects, Whitman Hospital has been awarded United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development grant funding in the amount of $500,000 under the 2014 Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program administered by the Rural Utilities Service.

Whitman Hospital requested grant funding to support the acquisition of digital Tomosynthesis which will provide for 3-D Breast Imaging, as well as a permanent indoor MRI unit. Both modalities are an essential part of Whitman Hospital's telemedicine program. "The use of telemedicine in our rural region is critical to the ability to provide quality healthcare to the communities we serve," says Hank Hanigan, CEO.

WHMC will commit funding to the project as well. Design work is underway at this time with plans to proceed with Tomosynthesis in the first part of 2015. The hospital currently provides digital mammography, however the capabilities of Tomosynthesis far exceeds current digital mammography units. In addition, plans to bring a MRI unit indoors are scheduled for the fall of 2015. The benefit of a permanent indoor MRI unit will allow services to be provided in a climate controlled environment which will improve patient wait time and the overall patient experience.