3D mammogram technology results in faster breast cancer diagnosis

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INDIANAPOLIS (August 9, 2015) – It's being called the mammogram of the future. 3D mammograms can detect tumors more easily in dense breast tissue, which means thousands of breast cancer patients can get diagnosed faster.

Carrie Cagnassola was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer last year. The Indianapolis woman doesn't have a family history, and her mammograms consistently showed she was cancer-free.

Cagnassola, like many women, had traditional mammograms with 2D imaging. Cagnassola went back and forth to the doctor, since the technicians had a hard time finding the cancer due to her dense breast tissue.

"My lump couldn`t be felt, not even by the health care professionals. Imaging was my only shot at having the breast cancer detected," said Cagnassola.

Hologic's Genius 3D mammography is one of the first 3D exams approved by the FDA.

Researchers found 3D mammograms used along with standard digital mammograms bumped up breast cancer detection rates by more than 40 percent and the advanced technology decreases call backs.

"The real advantage is you gets views in multiple dozens of slices and get a clarity for radiologist and their techs to isolate where there may be cancer," said Wendell Raddatz with Hologic.

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.

3D mammograms are more expensive than standard ones, and most insurers don't cover them yet.

"Hindsight is always 20/20. Would have detected my breast cancer early. It is better technology!" said Cagnassola.

St. Vincent Women's Center here in Indianapolis is one location that offers the newer technology.

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