RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Linda Dummitt stepped up to a machine for her first 3-D mammogram in Austin, Texas.
“It really makes you feel comfortable that they're getting a total view of the breast," Dummit said.
As a breast cancer survivor of ten years, Linda knows first-hand the importance of early detection. A routine mammogram led to her diagnosis.
"If I hadn't gotten it, I wouldn't be here today probably," said Linda. “My tumor was deep in the breast on the chest wall. It would've never been felt manually."
Now radiologists are getting a more detailed look at Linda's breast tissue through tomosynthesis
"[The radiologist] talked about the tomography and that takes slices as it goes through the tissue," said Linda.
The slices are one-millimeter thick which are complied as a 3-D reconstruction of the breast.
"The more obvious something is on a screening exam, the easier it is for me to detect,” said Dr. Elizabeth Moorehead, Director of Medical Images for the Breast Center at St. David’s in Austin, Texas.
Dr. Moorehead says the new technology not only has a higher detection rate but can also reduce false positives.
"I think it's most helpful for women with dense breasts, and particularly for anxious patients or patients who have been called back in the past,” said Dr. Moorehead.
Linda says it's not painful and at this point, no longer has one of the common complaints about mammography: disrobing wasn't the least bit uncomfortable. “I think after you've had breast cancer, you could probably show your breasts to just about anybody," said Linda.
Especially when the screening ends with an “all clear.”
"I don't mind getting my teeth cleaned, I don't mind getting my eyes checked,” said Linda. “I don't mind getting my breasts checked.”
Local radiologist Dr. Ellen Shaw de Parades calls 3-D mammography revolutionary, even “amazing.”
Dr. Parades says the technology has allowed her to accomplish two things: one, she’s detected a significant number cancers and pre-cancers. Two, she says it’s reducing the need for her patients to come back have additional pictures taken.
Dr. Parades calls 3-D mammography the biggest advancement in breast imaging in years. She’s been using the technology in her West End imaging center since March 2013.
Remember, all mammograms are covered by insurance and 3-D breast imaging is covered by most providers.