New breast imaging technology that radiologists say can detect breast cancers earlier and more accurately has been introduced this summer at two facilities in greater Oklahoma City.
Called “breast tomosynthesis,” the technology uses high-powered computing to convert multiple digital breast images into a stack of one-millimeter layers to build essentially a three-dimensional mammogram. Adding only a few seconds to traditional two-dimensional — or lateral and vertical — imaging of the breast, the latest technology includes an additional 180-degree sweep by an X-ray arm.
Like a CAT (computed axial tomography) scan of the breast, tomosynthesis allows doctors to pick up 20 percent to 25 percent more cancers, said Larry Killebrew, medical director and one of four radiologists with The Oklahoma Breast Care Center, which began offering it June 18 at 13509 N Meridian Ave.
Killebrew compares the technology to a 3-D image of a loaf of raisin bread, with the ability for doctors to scroll through and pick up raisins, or micro calcifications, in each layer or slice.
“If we detect cancers when they're small, dime-sized or smaller, there's a 97 percent cure rate,” Killebrew said.
The new technology, he said, is especially helpful for women with dense, or soft tissue, including young women before their milk ducts shrink. If cancers are overlaid by dense tissues above or below, they're more difficult to spot on traditional 2D images, he said.
Since it opened last week, Comprehensive Diagnostic Imaging at 5800 N Portland Ave. has performed 15 3-D mammograms, said Charles Mooney, chief executive.
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Breast cancer strikes one in eight women, and kills more than 38,000 women every year in America. Experts recommend women 40 and older get annual mammograms, though only 55 percent of Oklahoma women comply.
To find 3-D mammography nearest you, visit