RAO’s Women’s Imaging Center (WIC) and TimberRidge Imaging Center want to remind women to maintain a “Rosie” outlook on a riveting subject: early breast cancer detection. Most people know of the importance of finding breast cancer early, when it is most easily and successfully treated. But many don’t know about some of the more sophisticated technologies that arm our dedicated faction of breast imaging subspecialists.
The first line of defense is 3D mammography, which is nearly indistinguishable from standard 2D mammography in terms of the patient experience – but 3D is far more discerning and accurate, especially for the 47% of women with dense breast tissue. “Dense breast tissue affects nearly half of all women, and it’s completely normal,” says WIC Medical Director and breast imaging subspecialist Dr. Amanda Aulls. “But in standard mammography, dense breast tissue tends to image white, often masking breast cancer, especially in its early stages. 3D mammography offers greater clarity and detail, so cancer can be more easily differentiated from healthy tissue.”
3D mammography is estimated to be up to 40% better at discovering early invasive breast cancer than 2D, and it produces far fewer false positive results. “No one wants to have an unnecessary scare,” says Dr. Aulls. “And they certainly don’t want to undergo a follow-up test if they don’t need one. 3D reduces those experiences considerably, which is why it’s RAO’s standard of care.”
Does Early Discovery Really Make a Difference?
Yes. While breast cancer continues to strike 1 in 8 American women, death rates have dropped 39%, which many medical resources attribute to advances in diagnostic testing. When caught before it has had a chance to spread, breast cancer has a 93% survival rate. “We haven’t yet figured out how to prevent breast cancer,” says Dr. Aulls, “but we have gotten better at finding it early, when survival rates are high. We have not yet won the war, but we are winning more battles than ever before.”
RAO’s Women’s Imaging Center also offers other effective armaments in the fight. As the region’s only full-service women’s diagnostic center, WIC has a team of dedicated Board certified radiologists who subspecialize in breast imaging, meaning each doctor has at least 10 years of medical training and remains up-to-speed on the newest advances in supplementary testing, such as breast MRI and ultrasound. “We read all imaging results in-house rather than sending them out like some practices do,” says Dr. Aulls. “Interpreting results is every bit as important as getting high quality imaging. We believe it is too important a task to outsource, especially if something questionable shows up. In those cases, we consult directly with our patients’ doctors, many of whom our staff know personally, since we all live in the area.”
RAO has also put extensive effort into making WIC and TimberRidge welcoming environments, so women feel more comfortable physically and psychologically. “No one particularly looks forward to having a mammogram,” says Dr. Aulls, “but they don’t have to be awful. After all, this is part of nearly every woman’s healthcare, so we do our best to make sure it’s as quick, easy and accurate as possible, so there are fewer false alarms and quicker detection. Breast health is an important cause and our lives and welfare are worth fighting for.”
In the war against breast cancer, we shall never surrender. Make today a 3D-Day with a call to RAO to schedule your routine screening.