KGH installs Tri-Cities' first 3D mammogram system

Women who undergo routine mammograms at Kennewick General Hospital's Mammography Center now have the latest screening and diagnostic technology available to them in the Tri-Cities and Yakima.

KGH announced today the commissioning of a new 3D mammography system as part of its comprehensive and advanced breast care services for women. The new technology, also known as digital breast tomosynthesis (or tomo) improves the early detection of breast cancer by up to 30 percent according to several studies and reduces the need for additional breast screenings.

The new system, manufactured by Hologic, Inc., is the first product to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for 3D mammography. Traditional 2D digital mammography continues to be the standard of care for breast screenings. The new 3D mammography technology combines with conventional 2D mammography to provide an enhanced 3D image of the breast.

"It's only a matter of time before 3D mammography will become the standard of care for women in the Tri-Cities, "said Dr. Alan Ford, KGH radiologist. "Patients come to us to screen against breast cancer. This technology helps radiologists identify and characterize individual breast structures without the confusion of overlapping tissue. This provides greater confidence in readings with a significant reduction in recall rates. It's great for women and for the practice of preventative and diagnostic medicine."

The screening experience for women will be similar to what they've experienced in the past. During the 3D part of the exam, an x-ray arm sweeps over the breast, taking multiple images in seconds. There's no additional compression and the extra imaging only takes a few more seconds.

KGH women's health providers support the American Cancer Society's recommendation that women 40 years and older get a yearly screening mammogram. "We know that detecting cancer at an early stage saves lives," said Dr. G. Ranji Pillai, internal medicine specialist. "Offering the best mammography technology in the Tri-Cities is one more way that we can help our patients attain longer, healthier quality of life and peace of mind."