Thomasville Medical Center now offering 3D mammography

THOMASVILLE, N.C. -- The latest technology in preventative care is now available to patients inside Novant Health’s Thomasville Medical Center.

Dr. Helena Summers said the 3D mammography has been in Winston-Salem for more than two years but the new addition to Thomasville adds convenience to patients so they don’t have to travel for their screenings.

“It's like looking through a stack of cards. So a normal mammogram is looking at the deck of cards and 3D mammography or breast tomosynthesis is like skimming the deck and looking at each individual card,” Summers said.

Beyond saving time, the technology is more precise and detailed to help doctors locate abnormal masses and cancerous cells.

“We can get a better look at the edges of things better look at calcifications in normal breast structure and ligaments,” Summers said. “We've found that it's especially helpful in patients with dense breasts where it's hard to see through the normal mammogram.”

Patient Tammi Archer postponed her scheduled annual check, which she usually gets in June or July, just for the new 3D technology.

“I was pleasantly surprised, it was a quick process and it was not painful,” Archer said.

Because the quality of images are substantially more intricate than the standard 2D mammogram, the likelihood of calling patients for additional images decreases.

This theory is backed by the study led by Dr.Sarah M. Friedewald of the Caldwell Breast Center at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois.

Entitled “Breast Cancer Screening Using Tomosynthesis in Combination with Digital Mammography”, the study found a 41 percent increase in the detection of invasive breast cancers, 49 percent increase in Positive Predictive Value (PPV) for a recall and a 29 percent increase in the detection of all breast cancers.

The study was based on 454,850 examinations; both conventional and 3D mammograms comparatively.

Summers said the technology is open to all patients regardless of their risk or family history of breast cancer.