• Patients, doctors turn to 3D mammograms to help detect breast cancer, save lives

    By: Alicia Tarancon , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Patients and Doctors are turning to 3D mammograms to help detect breast cancer and save lives.

    Joanie Heighes is a breast cancer survivor.

    She was diagnosed with cancer four years ago around Christmas after a routine mammogram screening.

    Despite not having any signs or symptoms Heighes told us doctors found something.  

    “The tumor was so deep that there’s no way that a physical exam would have shown it and so the only way to have found it would have been the mammogram,” Heighes said.

    That was back in 2015 and now Baptist is using 3D mammograms to help take more images of the breast and help detect more cancers than standard mammograms.


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    “In the past, where typically we would have four images of a complete examination of a breast, now we have 100 images, so you can imagine with a 100 images we can see more,” said Dr. Trishna Patel, radiologist at Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center.

    There are six Baptist locations that offer 3D mammograms.

    Doctors say that having 3D mammograms helps reduce a patient's need for follow-up visits and it also helps patients with dense breast tissue because dense tissue makes it harder to detect cancer.

    “Now, if you take that same patient and you look through it with 3D or digital breast Tomosynthesis and you have multiple slices, you’re able to see through that actual white dense breast tissue,” Dr. Patel said.

    Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center says most insurances now cover 3D mammograms as part of preventative care.

    If a patient does not have insurance and pays out of pocket the hospital will provide a quote, but the average cost in other hospitals could be between $100 to $200.

    Patients like Heighes says her mammogram is the reason she’s here today.

    “My advice to everyone is, get your mammogram; just go and get it done because mine saved my life,” Heighes said.

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