New technologies improve the odds for beating breast cancer

The odds for beating breast cancer have never been better, thanks to advancements in treatment and early detection that are now available throughout the greater Dayton and northern Cincinnati region.

“When it comes to protecting your breast health, your best defense is a good offense. It’s essential to detect breast cancer early, when it’s most treatable,” says radiologist David Brown, MD, of Upper Valley Medical Center. He notes that the American Cancer Society recommends that women age 40 and older have a mammogram every year and continue to do so for as long as they are in good health.

Three new advanced technologies are making it easier to find breast cancer early. At Premier Health breast centers, area women can take advantage of 3-dimensional (3D) mammography, mammograms-on-the-go, and automated whole breast ultrasound (AWBUS) to give them peace of mind.

First in Dayton for 3D Mammography

Premier Health is the first health system in the region to offer 3D mammography. It’s an advanced form of mammography that, studies show, can find more invasive cancers and may reduce callbacks for additional images. Using 3D mammography, radiologists can get a clearer image of breast tissue, giving them a better opportunity to detect breast cancer at its earliest stage.

“A 3D mammogram gives us a keener, sharper view of breast tissue, resulting in more accurate readings,” says Dr. Brown.

In 3D mammography, imaging equipment moves in a slight arc over the breast, taking multiple images of the breast from several angles to form a 3D image. Radiologists can manipulate the 3D image to better visualize fine details within the breast tissue. This can result in finding cancers that might be missed with traditional 2D mammography, where images are taken from the top and side of the breast to produce a flat image.

With 2D mammograms, sometimes breast tissue can overlap, giving the illusion that normal breast tissue looks like an abnormal area or even hiding potential issues. If a radiologist sees an area that’s questionable, the patient is asked to return for additional imaging. 3D mammography reduces the need to call patients back for more images because the radiologist can see the breast tissue in smaller, thinner sections.

“3D mammography is appropriate for most women undergoing a standard mammogram, both screening and diagnostic,” Dr. Brown explains. It’s available at nearly all Premier Health breast centers.

Mobile Mammography for Busy Women

Not enough time, too far to go, can’t take off from work, caring for family — well-meaning, busy women all have their reasons for not scheduling an annual mammogram. Now, mobile mammography from Premier Health and Atrium Medical Center makes mammography easy. Women can make an appointment for their screening mammogram at a location close to their home or work. No doctor’s order is needed for women age 40 or older.

“The mobile coach offers traditional 2D and new 3D mammography with the same quality as Premier Health’s breast centers,” says John Weske, MD, medical director of Medical Imaging at Atrium Medical Center. The coach is comfortable, with a reception area, private dressing rooms, and a mammography suite. It’s staffed by an all-female team.

Dr. Weske notes that up to 40 percent of women age 40 and over in southwest Ohio are not getting annual mammograms, according to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Greater Cincinnati Affiliate. “Studies show the more convenient it is to get a mammogram, the more likely women are to schedule one. By taking our new mobile mammography coach into the community, we hope more women locally will take a few minutes for this essential screening,” Dr. Weske says.

Premier Health is the first Dayton-based health system to offer mobile mammography. Look for the mobile mammography coach at businesses and public venues like schools, churches and events throughout Southwest Ohio.

New option for women with dense breasts

For some women, including those with dense breast tissue and/or breast implants, mammography is not a perfect breast examination. Factors such as age, menopausal status, certain medications, pregnancy and genetics can affect breast density. Automated Whole Breast Ultrasound (AWBUS), when used with screening mammography, can find more cancers in women with dense breast tissue than mammography alone.

AWBUS is available at Good Samaritan Hospital’s Samaritan Breast Center, the first location in Dayton to offer it. Other Premier Health sites will offer this technology next year. The exam is painless, safe for breast tissue, and done without breast compression. Sound waves are used to examine all of the breast tissue, including lower lymph nodes under the arm, inner breast tissue between the breasts, outer breast tissue under and around the breasts, and tissue under the collar bone. A radiologist interprets the images. A physician referral is required for an AWBUS exam.

A full range of diagnostic tools

These new technologies complement other tools physicians use to get a clear look inside the breast. Breast ultrasound shows even the area closest to the chest wall and determines if a breast lump is solid or fluid-filled. For women at high risk of breast cancer, breast MRI delivers very detailed images of breast tissue and is more sensitive than a mammogram. Both are used in addition to mammography and require a physician referral.

To help women who, due to personal or family history, are at high risk of breast cancer, Premier Health offers high risk breast centers at both Miami Valley Hospital and Good Samaritan Hospital. Teams of specially trained physicians, nurses, genetic counselors, and others help women at high risk understand their increased risk and have a personalized plan to address those risks.

Don’t wait – learn more today

Women in the greater Dayton and northern Cincinnati region can count on Premier Health for advanced technology, convenience, and care. To schedule a mammogram at a Premier Health breast center, call (855) 887-7364, or learn more at To schedule a mobile mammography appointment, call (844) 453-4199.

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