3D Mammography for Dense Breasts
While I’ll say I’ve inherited some great genes, one thing I did also inherit, that has been tricky, is dense breast tissue. It used to be called fibrocystic desease but, it’s become so common now, that medical professionals have stopped using the term disease and now simply refer to it as fibrocystic breasts. Maybe this runs in your family too? I have had numerous normal mammograms come back with the frightening call from the diagnostic imaging professionals saying, “there’s a spot we’re concerned about, you’re going have to come in for a follow-up sonogram…” The sinking feeling hits, panic ensues… If you’ve received the call, then you know the feeling. If not, I guarantee that you or someone you love will. This past year not only I but, my Aunt and another dear friend got that call, the one that sent us all into a tail spin. We prayed for each other’s frazzled nerves, we tried to encourage, but there’s only so much you can do to support each other during such a scary time. This led me to do a little research that I’d like to share with you and I hope it’ll encourage others facing scary times. Mind you, I’m NO expert, only one who’s seeking to share what little information I’ve found while reading and researching. Who knows? Maybe this information will help you or a loved one in someway.
3-D mammography or tomosynthesis is a fairly new technology to America. In April of 2013, Johns Hopkins Medicine posted a video on their website explaining their process. Breast imaging expert Dr. Susan Harvey shared that all women can attain benefit from this procedure and the technology. While it is new here, it has been used for a longer period of time Europe and their research showed that 3-D mammography has increased breast cancer detection by 40%! They have also noticed a 40% decrease in the number of women that are asked to return after the screening mammogram. So, accuracy has increased and the number of false positives of those women who have to come back for follow up, have decreased. She goes on to explain the process and more details of why this technology is so important to women’s health.
I’ve found that quite a few women are unaware of this technology because it is fairly new and not all radiology clinics, at least not where I live, have this technology to perform such a test. For my 50th I decided it was time to follow through. I looked up my local options on-line. I had to go pick up films from my previous mammograms to take with me to the new breast center. I called and set up an appointment with the new center. I called my insurance to see if they’d cover the procedure. (And they DID because I’d previously been diagnosed with dense breasts. In fact, the test was covered 100% because of that diagnosis!) Then I had to call my Gyn and ask that she put in an order for this test. The test itself basically added about 15 seconds more to the normal procedure. It wasn’t painful or stressful at all. The process setting it up was a bit time consuming but let me tell ya, not getting “the call” this month was worth the effort! I’m clean, clear, and good to go. In fact I’m going to double check with my gynecologist next week but, I do believe, I might not even have to do this again for a few years. Yay technology!
I hope if you have the same issues, you’ll check out the information available and follow through, it was so worth the effort!