News Detail

Taylorville Memorial Hospital Now Offering 3-D Mammography


Taylorville Memorial Hospital now offers one of the latest advancements in breast cancer detection – 3-D mammography.

“We are very excited to have this new breast imaging technology at Taylorville Memorial Hospital,” said Doug Ferrill, radiology manager at Taylorville Memorial Hospital. “We are determined to bring the best to our community for women’s health.”

Using 3-D mammography provides images with greater detail and can help rule out borderline issues sooner, which can help to reduce the total number of call-back screenings for patients.

The nonprofit hospital has installed a unit from Hologic Inc., a leading medical imaging equipment manufacturer, which uses the company’s Genius 3-D mammography breast cancer screening technology. Installation was completed in late February; the hospital received FDA approval on March 7 and began its first 3-D screenings on March 22.

“With 3-D mammography, we can detect cancers that were not previously visible,” said Dr. Daniel Shekleton, a breast imaging specialist with Clinical Radiologists. “The technology increases the sensitivity and improves cancer detection rates.”

In conventional 2-D mammography, overlapping tissue is a leading reason why small breast cancers may be missed and normal tissue may appear abnormal, leading to unnecessary callbacks. A Genius exam includes a three-dimensional method of imaging that can greatly reduce the tissue overlap effect.

The 3-D process, called tomosynthesis, uses X-rays to collect multiple images of the breast from several angles. A computer then converts the images into a stack of thin layers, allowing the radiologist to review the breast tissue one layer at a time.

“3-D mammography provides images of the breast in ‘slices’ from different angles,” Shekleton said. “These ‘slices’ contain more information for the radiologist interpreting the exam. Ultimately, this leads to reduced call-back rates and less anxiety for many patients.”

A 3-D mammogram requires no additional compression and takes just a few seconds longer than a conventional 2-D breast cancer screening exam, Ferrill said.

Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women, according to the American Cancer Society. More than 230,000 women in the nation are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.

To understand how 3-D mammography differs from the traditional 2-D mammography, imagine a loaf of bread with a marble baked inside, Ferrill said. If you examined the bread loaf unsliced, you might see the marble or at least see an indication of where it might be lurking, but it would be more difficult to pinpoint; that’s 2-D mammography.

But if that loaf of bread were sliced and you could pull out each slice to examine it, you could easily pinpoint the marble’s location. That’s 3-D mammography. The greater number of images increases the opportunity for the radiologist to catch a questionable spot, Ferrill said.

A Hologic-sponsored study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in June 2014, found that women who underwent 3-D scans were called back 15 percent less often for follow-up tests. The study also discovered a 41-percent increase in the detection of invasive breast cancers and a 29-percent increase in the detection of all breast cancers.

3-D mammograms may have advantages for women with dense breast tissue, which often makes it more difficult to interpret a traditional 2-D mammogram. A 3-D mammogram may make it more likely that breast cancer is detected in dense breast tissue, Ferrill said.

For routine 3-D mammogram screenings, patients can schedule their own appointments with a physician referral. To schedule an appointment, call 217-824-1865.

For diagnostic mammograms to examine unusual changes in the breast, patients should see their physicians first.