3D mammograms ease women's minds

For women with dense breast tissue, a traditional mammogram can miss tumors.

Or the mammogram can give an unclear reading, leading to even more tests and anxiety for a patient.

That’s why Mills Breast Cancer Institute invested in mammography units that create a 3D breast image and give physicians the best chance to detect cancer earlier.

“With the old technology, I would see something suspicious, and I could see the worry on many patients’ faces as I told them they needed more tests. I felt relieved when the ultrasound or MRI came back a false positive,” explained April Dickenson, MD, (pictured here) a fellowship-trained mammographer at Carle.

“But to confirm the spot wasn’t cancer, we had to put patients through extra tests and worry

“Over 80 percent of women have some dense breast tissue,” Dr. Dickenson said. “Over half have significant dense breast tissue. Women with dense breasts are at a higher risk for cancer, but it is harder to detect with a traditional mammogram for those women.”

Women need to get a mammogram starting at age 40.

To obtain clearer images for the important tests, Carle replaced all mammography units with 3D machines. Carle is the only facility in Champaign-Urbana using this technology.