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Published on November 28, 2017

3D Mammograms Now at MidMichigan Medical Center - Mt. Pleasant

Patients in the Mt. Pleasant area now have access to new technology that improves breast cancer detection while reducing false positives. MidMichigan Medical Center – Mt. Pleasant is now offering 3D mammography, also known as Digital Breast Tomosynthesis, at its new location at the Medical Center. It is also available at the Center for Women’s Health on the campus of MidMichigan Medical Center – Midland and MidMichigan Medical Center – Gratiot.

This new technique uses the same digital mammography equipment as a regular mammogram, but captures additional layers of images through the breasts. It takes just a few seconds more than a regular mammogram. A regular digital screening mammogram captures only two images of each breast, while the 3D technology captures many more images allowing the radiologists to visualize masses from normal breast tissue more clearly.

“Research has shown that using breast tomosynthesis in large populations results in improved cancer detection rates and fewer call backs for additional imaging,” said Jeff Morrill, D.O., radiologist at MidMichigan Medical Centers – Gratiot and Mt. Pleasant. “Therefore, the benefits are thought to include earlier detection of small breast cancers that may be ‘hidden’ using conventional mammography, better characterization of a mass, fewer unnecessary biopsies or additional tests and a better way to assess patients with dense breast tissue.”

“All patients who need mammograms can benefit from this technology regardless of their breast density,” said Dr. Morrill. “Patients who schedule mammograms in Alma, Midland or Mt. Pleasant will automatically be asked if they would like a 3D mammogram in addition to traditional mammography views. They do not need a special physician order to have 3D views.”

Most insurance plans now cover routine screening mammograms for eligible patients at no cost to the patient as part of their preventive benefits. A growing number of plans will also cover the additional charges to capture the extra 3D images when a regular mammogram is already covered. However, MidMichigan encourages patients to check with their insurance plan for specific coverage details.

“It’s important that women starting at the age of 40 make a mammogram part of their annual physical even if they have no symptoms or family history of breast cancer,” said Lindsay Zeeb, M.D., radiologist at MidMichigan Medical Center – Midland. “Women with a strong family history of pre-menopausal breast cancer, or who have inherited a gene strongly associated with breast cancer such as BRCA1, BRCA2, should begin screening mammograms earlier than age 40 and should discuss this with their physicians.”

“Simply put ‘Mammography saves lives’,” said Dr. Zeeb. “Yearly mammograms can detect cancer early when it is most treatable. Mammograms can show changes in the breast before they can be felt as a lump and also prevent the need for extensive treatment for advanced cancers and the improved chances of breast conservation.”

To learn more about this new technology visit www.midmichigan.org/3dmamm. Patients who would like to schedule a mammogram at one of MidMichigan Health’s locations should obtain a mammogram order from their doctor and then call (989) 633-5252 or toll-free (888) 367-2778.

MidMichigan Health has special funds available to help with the cost of a mammogram. For those who qualify, the fund will cover a significant portion of the cost of mammography. Eligibility is limited and some fees may not be covered. Those interested in the program may call the MidMichigan Health Breast Health Program at MidMichigan Medical Center - Midland at (989) 837-9070 or toll-free at (888) 626-4547, or at MidMichigan Medical Center - Gratiot at (989) 466-7253.

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