New technology aids early detection of breast cancer

Kingman Regional Medical Center announced today that beginning immediately, it will begin using new breakthrough technology, called "3-dimensional breast tomosynthesis" for routine and diagnostic breast cancer screenings.

Along with two other hospitals in the Phoenix area, KRMC is among the first in the nation to offer breast tomosynthesis, which was only approved by the Federal Drug Administration in April of this year.

Like a traditional mammogram, breast tomosynthesis is a low-dose X-ray of the breast. However, traditional mammography produces a flat 2-dimensional picture of the breast. Breast tomosynthesis produces separate images of multiple layers of breast tissue. High-powered computing assembles these images to produce an exceptionally clear 3-dimensional view of the breast.

With breast tomosynthesis, doctors can see details in breast tissue in a way never before possible. Instead of viewing all the complexities in a flat image, they can examine the tissue a millimeter at a time. Fine details can be clearly visible because they are no longer hidden by the tissue above and below.

"Tomosynthesis eliminates overlap of tissue and can make abnormalities more visible," states Dr. Christopher Johansen, Kingman radiologist and director of KRMC's breast imaging program. "Another important aspect is that it can also help us rule out non-cancers that may have looked suspicious in a 2D mammogram - reducing the need to call women back for additional diagnostic tests" he adds.

Importantly, Johansen is one of the top experts in the United States in the early detection of breast cancer using breast tomosynthesis. In addition to his extensive training in radiology at Mayo Clinic, he recently completed a one-year fellowship in Breast Imaging through Harvard Medical School at Massachusetts General Hospital, which is where breast tomosynthesis and other advanced breast imaging technologies were first pioneered.

After Sept. 1, breast tomosynthesis will be used for patients who come to the KRMC Imaging Center for a screening or diagnostic mammogram. Patients will not notice a difference from a typical mammogram when receiving the test. According to recommendations by the American Cancer Society, every woman over 40 should be screened for breast cancer once a year.

For more information about the imaging capabilities and radiology services offered at KRMC, please call the KRMC Imaging Center at (928) 681-8600.