Liberty Regional Medical Center has acquired a new weapon in the fight against breast cancer. The 3D mammography machine was obtained by Liberty Regional for somewhere between $450,000 and $600,000.
The Courier sat down with Liberty Regional’s Medical Director of Radiology, Dr. James McClellan, who spoke with us a bit on how the machine works and how it will improve the detection of breast cancer.
3D mammography has existed for about eight plus years according to Dr. McClellan, who stated that he has been familiar with the technology for about that long.
It is able to detect subtle breast cancer in patients and better detect breast cancer through dense breast tissue, which has always been a difficult element. 3D mammography takes slice images of the breast, giving doctors a 360 degree field of view.
Doctors, such as McClellan, can scan through these images layer by layer, able to distinguish a cancer mass from breast tissue stacked on top of each other. This amount of accuracy means fewer patients are called back for diagnostic mammograms.
McClellan stated that women typically should get a breast exam starting at age 40, and should continue to get breast exams once a year. However, people who have first degree family history of breast cancer, such as mothers or sisters, should schedule exams sooner.
If you have a family history of breast cancer, it is advised that you begin breast exams 10 years sooner than the age your blood relative was diagnosed. For example, if someone’s mother had breast cancer at age 30, it is recommended that they see a doctor around age 20.
Before Liberty Regional, the closest 3D mammography machines were in Savannah and Jacksonville, Fla.
Aside from the machine itself; hospitals also require special yet expensive monitors to read the mammograms.
McClellan mentioned that before he arrived about eight months ago, Liberty Regional did not do breast biopsies, but he was able to help convince the hospital’s board to purchase the appropriate technology.
“I’m always going to be kind and treat people with respect, and you get what you give in this life,” McClellan said, “The patients know that when they come here, we’re going to give them the latest technology.”