New 3D technology being called ‘mammogram of the future’

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

By Tanae Howard

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Oct. 9, 2014)-- A fairly new piece of technology is being called the mammogram of the future. It's called tomosynthesis or 3D mammography.

Doctors at St. Vincent Women's Center are now using the device, especially on women who have dense breast tissue. Dense breast tissue means the breast has more tissue than fat, making it harder to see tumors that are the same color as the tissue on mammogram images.  This machine gets a 3D snapshot allowing radiologist to look for tumors layer by layer, almost like flipping the pages of a book.

"What that translates to is that a woman with dense breast tissue this 3D mammogram may be able to pick up small tumors that otherwise would've been missed on traditional mammograms," said St. Vincent Breast Cancer Surgeon, Dr. Erica Giblin.

State legislators are also joining the fight against breast cancer.

As of July 2013, Indiana state law requires facilities that perform mammograms to send letters to patients who are found to have dense breast tissue. The letter encourages women to follow-up with their physician to determine if further testing is needed. The law also includes an education component for patients and follow up screenings are covered by insurance.

Social Work professor, Dr. Greta Slater received her dense breast tissue warning letter just last week.

"I think its a really fantastic thing that's happened in our state and i'm glad its happening. I want people to know about it and know that its not cancer they just need to follow protocol to get extra screenings," said Dr. Slater.

Dr. Slater lost her mom to breast cancer. Her younger sister just had a double mastectomy last week. She says this letter didn't scare her but was a tool to help save her life and other women in this category.

"I'm trying to do whatever I can to reduce my risk. I have three kids," said Dr. Slater.

The machines at St. Vincent Women's Center were paid for by funds raised during the yearly Saks Fifth Avenue Key to the Cure Gala. That event takes place this weekend. To learn more about the fundraiser click here