3D Mammography improves Breast Cancer screening

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One in eight. That's how many women will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer. The good news is - if it's caught early, the five-year survival rate is nearly 100-percent. One of the most effective methods for finding breast cancer is a mammogram. As Serese Cole reports, doctors at Fremont Health say the latest advances in screening is helping detect breast cancer sooner and more accurately.

The women in the Bagley family are a tight bunch. So when one of their own was diagnosed with breast cancer - it was tough.

"We all started balling, that's when it kind of hit - this could be bad," said Barbara Bagley. "I just never thought it was going to happen to me…at all."

Unfortunately, it did.

But it wasn't just Barbara Bagley. Her sister was diagnosed with the disease two years earlier.

"I'm just thinking my aunt had it, my mom is now diagnosed with it...I was concerned about all the females in our family," said Barbara's daughter - Rachel Williams.

Fremont Health Family Medicine Physician, Dr. Sarah Grauman says a mammogram is the best way to put that concern to rest.

"Early detection prevents death," Grauman said.

New breast screening technology is making early detection - more accurate. Unlike a traditional mammogram, Three Dimensional, or 3D, mammography captures multiple images of the breast at different angles.

"So basically 3D mammography is a much better picture," Grauman explained.

Those better images produce better results. Researchers found 3-D mammography detects cancer 15 months earlier, it is finding 41-percent more invasive cancers and it reduces false positives by up to 40-percent.

"A lot of times women with dense breast would be called back for a false positive or false alarm and that requires further testing - possibly a biopsy - and then just the increased stress. 3-D mammography helps prevent those false positives," said Grauman.

Dr. Grauman says whether you choose 3-D or the traditional 2-D, the most important thing is to get a mammogram.

You don't have to tell that to the Bagley girls.

"I turn 40 this year. That's how I'm going to celebrate my birthday - a mammogram. Emotionally we know - the importance of it," said Angie Garter.

Their mother is an example of how getting an annual mammogram can save your life.

"If I wouldn't have done that - I'd be gone," Bagley admitted.

Instead, thanks to technology - she's around to create more memories with her girls.

Dr. Grauman recommends women begin annual mammograms at age 40. If you have family history -you should talk it over with your doctor. As for the 3-D mammography - it is covered by medicare and many insurance companies. To ensure coverage - you should check with your insurance provider.

In honor of breast cancer awareness WOWT has teamed up with the American Cancer Society raise awareness and funds for the fight against cancer. More details can be found here