CancerCare Center | Breast Cancer

Trinity CancerCare Center

Digital Mammography:

Trinity Health is proud to have been the first breast imaging center in North Dakota to offer digital mammography. Trinity Health offers a full range of mammography services including screening and diagnostic exams, as well as stereotactic-guided vacuum-assisted breast biopsies. Research has shown that digital mammography does a better job of detecting tumors in younger women and women with dense tissue breasts. It's the most advanced technology available for screening mammograms- the first defense against breast cancer. Trinity Health has two digital mammography machines, both located in the Breast Imaging Center at Health Center-Medical Arts.

Trinity Health has added 3D mammography (breast tomosynthesis) as an additional screening tool, the newest arsenal in breast cancer detection!

Press Release on 3D mammography:

"Soon cancer will have no place to hide"

3-D Imaging Prevails in Fight Against Cancer

Since early August, radiologists at Trinity Health have found the perceived benefits in 3-D mammography to be warranted.

“This is the best technology there is, as far as mammography goes,” said Connie Busch, RT(R), coordinator of Trinity’s Breast Imaging Center, about Wide-Angle True Breast Tomosynthesis, the most up-to-date 3-dimensional breast imaging system on the market. “This technology is really going to shine. We are going to find those cancers that would have been missed because of dense breast tissue.”

What exactly is dense breast tissue? Dense breast tissue is a more solid area and harder to see through in mammography image, while fatty breast tissue is easy to see through, thus cancer cannot hide in this form of tissue.

Dense or fatty breast tissue is not something that can be determined by touch or looks alone, Busch explained. “You can’t feel the breast or physically look at it and know the structure,” she said. “It is determined by how it looks on the breast image performed during the mammogram.” According to Busch, age and genetics usually play a part in the makeup of the breast.

“In general, the younger women – women that have not gone through menopause – tend to have more dense breast structure because of the milk producing glands and all of the connective tissue that holds the glands together,” she said. “As they age, the tissue starts to disappear and, as time goes on, the breasts get fattier.”

However, depending on genetics, the tissue will stay dense for some women. (Busch noted that those genes usually come from the maternal, or mother’s side.)

The 3-D mammography is recommended for women who either have dense breast tissue or are unfamiliar with whether they have dense of fatty breast tissue. Alternatively, women who know they have fatty breast tissue or those who cannot physically tolerate the 3-D mammography process – of the four images needed, each exposure requires the breast to be compressed for 25 to 35 seconds (in comparison to the two to three seconds for 2-D mammography) – may not be imaged with this new technology.

"Images of 2-D and 3-D mammographies, side-by-side. Connie Busch, RT®, coordinator of Trinity’s Breast Imaging Center, noted how the 3-D imaging caught an abnormality not noticed in the 2-D imaging.

Learn More:

For more information on specific types of cancer, treatment and symptoms, visit the American Cancer Society.

Before the creation of 3-D mammography, 2-D digital mammograms were used; while effective, it did not catch everything immediately. “If a patient had something that was possibly abnormal, they would have had additional mammogram pictures or other imaging modalities, such as an ultrasound. An abnormality would have to be identified on the mammogram.”

Busch also noted that 3-D technology may eliminate the need for women to return for additional imaging of an indeterminate area in their mammogram. Patients are sometimes called back for additional imaging to double check a questionable image; 3-D mammography will help clarify this. “This will eliminate a few of those, as the original study (using 3-D) will give radiologists all the info they need,” Busch said.

Based on the number of women we have tested in a month’s time, “we’re going to see a benefit in finding cancers earlier that would have been overlooked if they had just did 2-D mammography,” Busch added.

Patients who wish to have a mammography should schedule an appointment by calling Trinity Health’s Radiology department at 857-2640. Additional questions can also be addressed to your general physician.

 Providers in this field:
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