OSF finds cancers earlier with 3D mammography

ESCANABA – Four months after OSF St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group introduced 3D mammography, physicians state success in finding tumors earlier and improving a woman’s chance of survival.

“We are finding tumors with 3D mammography that probably wouldn’t have been detected for another year using traditional 2D mammography,” said Stephen Manier, M.D., a radiologist on staff with OSF St. Francis. “Some tumors are so small that survival rates are approaching 95 percent, which is an amazing leap forward in the area of breast health.”

OSF implemented its 3D mammography unit earlier in the fall. Using the new technology, Manier explained, physicians can better manipulate breast images and magnify areas of concern, even in very dense breast tissue.

“The imaging machine moves around the breast in an arc, seven degrees to the left, seven to the right, taking 15 different pictures in all. The result is multiple x-rays that the computer forms into a 3-D image. By comparison, conventional 2-D mammography produces a single, flattened image of the breast, making cancer detection more challenging. With 3D we are able to offer better detection, fewer call backs and greater peace of mind.

“For a smaller facility to have such advanced technology is a blessing. We are making a tremendous impact on the health of women in our community.”

OSF St. Francis is the only hospital in the Upper Peninsula and the only healthcare facility north of Milwaukee to offer 3D mammography, according to Lanna Scannell, manager of community relations and development at OSF. Several years ago, she said OSF was also a leader in introducing digital mammography to the U.P.

“We are fortunate to be part of OSF Healthcare System, which has made it possible for us to have this state-of-the-art equipment that many major medical centers do not have yet.”

Scannell said all mammography patients at OSF benefit from the new 3D technology, regardless of their ability to pay. More information about 3D mammography at OSF St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group can be found at www.osfstfrancis.org/3D.

The standard of care for mammography set by the American Cancer Society remains having an initial screening at age 40 and annually thereafter, stated Amy Streichert, radiologic technologist at OSF. She added that the procedure, itself, is very much the same as a standard mammography and most patients do not notice a difference. Women are advised to talk to their OB/GYN or primary care provider for guidance on breast health and the best options for their unique needs.