3D mammography brings advanced breast cancer detection to area

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FRUITA, Colo. New technology is taking the guess work out of mammograms.

"It does make your image much better and much cleaner and crisper, so the radiologist can see what they need to see," said Jill Palma, lead mammogram tech at Family Health West.

Three-dimensional mammography offers doctors and patients more precise pictures to detect any problems and it's now being offered at Family Health West in Fruita.

The medical center debuted a 3D mammography machine at the beginning of June.

Almost 100 women have tried it out so far and one patient said the accuracy gives her peace of mind.

"I think that the thing that really stuck out was that it was 3D, so it didn't leave me guessing if they had missed something," said Paige Smith, who received a 3D mammogram. "I felt like it was such a tool that was very distinct."

Instead of taking one image top to bottom of the breast, it splits the tissue up into multiple images for a better analysis.

Radiologists can eliminate the need for call back mammograms and biopsies by 40% thanks to the more detailed pictures.

"Of course anybody that gets called back for a second image is anxious and worried that it's going to be cancer," Palma said.

Only 10% of patients who are called back actually have breast cancer.

However, when someone actually does have breast cancer, 3D mammograms give radiologists a better picture to detect it early on, a requirement for successful treatment.

"Next year with 2D you might see it, but now it's catching the cancer sooner, so you can take care of it sooner," Palma said.

Family Health West isn't charging any additional fees on top of the 2D mammogram for a 3D mammogram.

Anybody can make an appointment by calling the imaging center at Family Health West at (970) 858-2503.

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