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3D mammograms are here

The Madison Hospital Breast Center and Huntsville Hospital Breast Center now offer 3D screening mammography for women. 3D mammography, also known as digital tomosynthesis, can lead to earlier detection of some breast cancers by providing physicians clearer and more detailed views of breast tissue.

"With early detection, the five-year survival rate is almost 100 percent," said Dr. Libby Shadinger, Breast Center medical director. "That's why we were very intentional in our choice of technology, and why we are grateful to the Liz Hurley Ribbon Run for providing funds to purchase what we felt was the best technology available."

The 3D technology used by the Breast Centers is the only clinically superior 3D mammography technology approved by the FDA.

While the medical benefits of 3D mammograms are significant, patients will not notice much difference in the actual exam. 3D mammograms only take a few seconds longer than 2D mammograms and do not significantly increase radiation exposure.

When calling the Breast Center to schedule their annual screening mammogram, women can request a 3D mammogram. For non-Medicare patients there is $60 out-of-pocket fee. Some insurance policies may reimburse the $60 fee if the screening mammogram results in a diagnosis of dense breast tissue.

Proceeds from Huntsville Hospital Foundation's 2014 Liz Hurley Ribbon Run brought digital tomosynthesis to the Breast Center. Generous sponsors and more than 6,600 runners helped raise the funds needed to equip two mammography machines with the new 3D technology. The 2015 Ribbon Run will help fund the purchase of a new digital mammography machine.