It’s no surprise that breast cancer research on causes, prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment is underway at countless worldwide medical centers. However, what the American Cancer Society reports is that some of the most sophisticated imaging methods are being used in Pensacola.
“Realistically, we have fantastic health resources and centers here. All have the capability of excellence in mammography, and all modalities are available here,”
Dr. John Ervin, associate professor with Florida State University of Medicine/Obstetrics & Gynecology Residency Program said.
“Because of new technology, we have been able to have earlier and earlier detection. So, less invasive surgery has been necessary.”
said Ervin, who is also a volunteer with the Panhandle American Cancer Society.
Speaking about the earlier stages in which breast cancer is being detected, Dr. Ervin added:
“Go back 20 years ago, and the average mass was three to four centimeters, a big mass that required big surgery. The trend is we are finding breast cancer earlier, which means less invasive surgeries. Less invasive is a good thing.”
And in this new age of breast cancer detection technologies, the 3D digital mammography or digital breast tomosynthesis is one of the more promising methods. It uses all the benefits of digital mammography and creates excellent high-quality images from various angles. The machine can then be used to reconstruct a 3D view of the entire breast, so that doctors can examine the inner architecture of the patient’s breast without distortion. As such, the method leads to earlier abnormality detection- a time when breast cancer is best treatable and survival odds are highest.
3D digital mammography offers not only improved accuracy and detection but also images that show structures in the spatial relationship with other breast tissue. It contributes to the detection of breast cancer very early, can be performed quickly and accurately rules out cancer without requiring additional study.
“One of the persistent criticisms of mammography is the anxiety felt by women who are called back from a screening for additional views,”
Dr. Vashti Hellein, member of Radiology Associates-Pensacola said.
“With 3D mammography, multiple studies demonstrate an increased cancer detection rate combined with a decreased patient recall rate. We are fortunate to have this exceptional technology available to the community at multiple Baptist Health Care facilities.”
What needs to be assessed now is which risk groups most benefit from the 3D technology: young women, those with dense breast tissue, those with strong family histories or simply those needing screening.