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Published on June 26, 2017

Mercy Fitzgerald and Mercy Philadelphia Hospitals now offer 3-D mammography

Mammograms save lives.

3d mammographyThey do that by finding cancerous breast tumors when they’re still too tiny for a woman or her doctor to feel. And they can give women a potentially lifesaving head start on treatment.

But mammograms aren’t perfect. They don’t find all breast cancers.

That’s why Mercy Fitzgerald and Mercy Philadelphia Hospitals are now offering women an advanced form of breast imaging not yet available at all hospitals: 3-D mammography.

“It helps doctors catch more cancers at an earlier stage,” says Karen Kish, MD, a Mercy Fitzgerald and Mercy Philadelphia Hospital Breast Surgeon.

Better images, fewer callbacks

As a woman, you won’t notice much difference between 3-D mammograms and standard 2-D ones—they feel the same.

The difference is that standard mammography only takes images of the breasts from two angles. In contrast, 3-D mammography produces multiple three-dimensional images, taken from several angles. Doctors are able to see separate slices of breast tissue and spot small tumors that otherwise might be hidden, says Scott Rotenberg, MD, Section Head of Breast Imaging at Mercy Fitzgerald and Mercy Philadelphia Hospitals.

Still another plus: Better imaging cuts down on the number of women called back for more tests because of a suspicious finding. Although additional testing usually reveals everything is OK, the experience makes many women understandably anxious.

Given its many benefits, 3-D mammography is a good choice for any woman. But it’s especially beneficial for women with dense breasts, Dr. Rotenberg says. Dense breasts make it harder to detect cancer in mammograms, and 3-D mammograms increase their accuracy.

Our accredited breast care programs

3-D mammography is just part of Mercy Fitzgerald and Mercy Philadelphia’s breast care programs, which both earned accreditation from the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC).

Receiving care at an NAPBC-accredited center ensures that patients have access to a full continuum of care from early diagnosis to survivorship; a multidisciplinary team to coordinate the best treatment options; and clinical trials.

The NAPBC-accredited program also expands responsibilities for Mercy’s Oncology Nurse Navigators, Susan LaSalle, MSN, RN, OCN, and Joy Hepkins, BSN, RN, OCN. They assist women with abnormal mammogram results—answering questions, easing fears and coordinating care.

“Most women are pleased when a nurse navigator is present at a mammogram or follows up with them for the biopsy after a diagnostic mammogram,” Joy says. “They feel that you stand as an advocate—someone who has knowledge and experience and can better explain, guide and prepare them, while reassuring and giving support. And not just for that time, but ongoing into the continuum of care.”

Breast Cancer: By the Numbers

89.7%: The majority of women who get breast cancer will survive five years or more after being diagnosed.

55-64: It’s most frequently diagnosed among women in this age range.

No. 1: It’s the most common cancer in women of all races and ethnicities.

Source: CDC

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