Dimension, Detection, Detail. St. Augustine Imaging Launches 3D Mammography for Early Detection of Breast Cancer – Which Means a Better Chance of a Cure for Area Women
St. Augustine, FL – St. Augustine Imaging, one of six imaging centers operated by RAI in East Central and Northeastern Florida, is the first provider in St. Johns County to offer 3D mammography. The radiology practice selected a Hologic Selenia Dimensions Genius 3D MAMMOGRAPHY™ system.
“Hologic was the first manufacturer to obtain FDA approval for 3D digital breast tomosynthesis, so we view them as the technology leader whose equipment was the best choice for area women,” said radiologist and St. Augustine Imaging Medical Director John E. Agles, M.D. “As the first provider to bring the benefits of 3D mammography to St. Johns County, we’re pleased to be partnering with Hologic.”
What are the benefits of 3D mammograms, and who should consider having a 3D mammogram at St. Augustine Imaging instead of a conventional two-dimensional (2D) mammogram?
“It’s easier to understand when you think of 3D as standing not only for ‘three dimensional’ but for three words that start with the letter D: dimension, detection, and detail,” Dr. Agles said.
“Conventional mammograms usually take four two-dimensional images of the breasts at different angles,” he said. “But a 3D mammogram takes 24 images of the breast tissue at different depths. A computer puts those pictures together, creating a three-dimensional image that lets us see inside the breast much more clearly. That makes us more confident when a mammogram appears normal and when we see abnormalities, which means fewer false positives, fewer callbacks for additional imaging, and fewer unnecessary biopsies. 3D mammograms also make the smallest abnormalities easier to find. That’s vitally important because, when a small abnormality proves to be early-stage cancer, it can be cured—the treatment success rate is virtually 100 percent. So 3D mammograms are beneficial to all women, but especially to those with dense breast tissue, which makes abnormalities harder to find in a conventional mammogram.”
Dr. Agles added that a 3D mammogram takes virtually the same amount of time to complete as a conventional 2D mammogram, and feels essentially the same to the patient.
Currently, 3D mammograms are fully covered for Medicare patients who are within Medicare guidelines for screening mammograms. However, not all private insurers have followed suit.
“I do expect that most insurers will eventually get on board with Medicare in covering 3D mammograms,” Dr. Agles said. “But for now, patients can expect variations depending on their insurance plan. In the meantime, we’re offering patients who are covered only for 2D mammograms the option of a 3D mammogram for a nominal copay. We hope that will help more women benefit from this latest advancement in early detection of breast cancer until private insurers update their coverage policies.”