FORT LEE, Va. – Kenner Army Health Clinic at Fort Lee now offers 3-D mammography services; available just in time for the annual October observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The new 3-D capability offers much-greater detail than the 2-D mammogram. They both take the same amount of scanning time and use equal levels of controlled radiation, confirmed Cpl. Caitlin Eick, a radiology specialist in the department.
“The 3-D mammography equipment delivers clearer images and helps improve the clarity of dense breast tissue,” she said, noting that it can help physicians better diagnose any potential health concerns.
Breast cancer research continues to improve the imaging necessary to find, detect and diagnosis the signs of disease earlier, according to the National Cancer Institute. The primary difference between 3-D mammography and its predecessor is the resulting comprehensive picture of the breast.
3-D is a procedure that uses x-rays to take a series of pictures of the inside of the breast from multiple angles. A computer makes 3-D pictures of the breast from these x-rays, and trained physicians can use the high-quality images to check for breast cancer and other changes such as abnormal lumps, cysts or calcifications (calcium deposits). It may allow doctors to see breast tissue, including dense breast tissue, more clearly than with 2-D mammography. This may make breast tumors or other changes in the breast easier to find.
Regularly scheduled preventive screenings are important to women’s health as they increase the likelihood of detecting signs of cancer early, which ensures greater success with remedial actions before the disease presents a greater threat to the individual’s health.
“Another positive of this new addition to Kenner’s Radiology Clinic is that it will lessen the number of our patients who have to be referred (to an off-post provider),” Eick said.
Kenner mammography screenings are by appointment only. To schedule a date and time, call the Radiology Clinic at 804-734-9118 or the KAHC Call Center at 1-866-533-5242, option 8.
Patients, age 40 and over, can self-refer as long as it is a routine yearly screening with no breast issues previously diagnosed. The caveat of one year or longer since their last mammogram is important because it is often the baseline for whether insurance will cover the appointment.
If a patient is having any issues such as lumps, bumps or other discomfort, they should first contact their provider for a consult and possible referral for a diagnostic mammogram as needed.
Eick offered further clarification of mammography services saying her department schedules appointments in thirty minutes increments “to allow ample time for the exam and the disinfection/sanitation of equipment and patient dressing rooms” afterward.
Yale Medicine and other research suggests a 43 percent increase in the success rate in 3-D mammogram imagery over standard 2-D. To underscore the importance of the upcoming Breast Cancer Awareness Month observance, Kenner emphasizes the results of a U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics website fact sheet that shows a rise in cases among women and men. About 1-in-8 women (roughly 13 percent nationwide) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
“Always work with your provider team to determine the best option for breast care,” KAHC leaders advised. “If it has been more than a year since your last screening, take the opportunity during Breast Cancer Awareness Month to book your appointment.”