Published on November 09, 2021

Essentia Health expanding 3D mammography options

Essentia Health is making it easier for patients to receive high-quality breast cancer screening options in the communities we serve by adding more 3D mammogram options. 

We have added two new units — one in Ashland and another in Superior.

“Adding these to more locations really makes it easier for patients to access critical breast exams without having to travel as far,” said Dr. Tammy Fox, an Essentia radiologist. “People feel strongly connected to their communities, so it’s nice to offer state-of-the-art equipment close to home.”

A 3D mammogram is an imaging test that combines multiple breast X-rays to create several thin images of the breast. 3D mammograms are used to screen people who have no signs or symptoms of the disease, and can also be used to investigate the cause of other breast problems such as pain and breast lump.

Added benefits include a reduced need for follow-up imaging because 3D mammography provides a clearer picture of the breast and can improve breast cancer detection in dense tissue by making it easier to see through extra tissue or cysts.

“This is just another tool to make sure we are catching breast cancer as soon as we can,” said Dr. Fox. “We know that early detection is key when it comes to beating this disease.”

According to the American Cancer Society, on average, early detection of Stage 1 breast cancer has a 99% five-year relative survival rate.

Essentia still offers 2D mammograms. Dr. Fox said patients can talk with their primary care physician to determine which option is best for them.

Dr. Fox also reminds patients that routine screening is the most important thing people can do to catch breast cancer early. Yearly screening is recommended for people once they reach the age of 40.

“People who get yearly mammograms vs. women who get them randomly have a better survival rate, require less aggressive surgery and are much less likely to need chemotherapy,” said Dr. Fox. 

3D mammograms are one of many tools offered by Essentia’s nationally accredited breast health program.  

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