Check screening options urges patient
An Auckland cancer patient’s only motive is to help other women.
This from an eastern bays woman in her 60’s who has had breast cancer detected recently on the tomosynthesis mammogram. According to the patient, who wishes to remain anonymous, the standard mammogram she had did not detect her breast abnormalities.
She says that following her standard mammogram she was lucky to be offered tomosynthesis as a breast screening option. ’’I hadn’t really thought about cancer, but it turns out I had two tumours and the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes,’’ she says. The patient says there is no breast cancer history in her family. According to the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation, 90 - 95 per cent of those diagnosed won’t have either. The patient says she was also lucky because she is in the small percentage of women who experienced breast pain. Its onset is initially what motivated her to see a doctor and subsequently led her to have breast screening. She encourages women to have a mammogram whether they are in pain or not. ‘‘I urge women to find out if tomosynthesis mammography is an option available to them for breast screening,’’ she says.
Digital tomosynthesis (tomo) is the latest in breast imaging technology. According to Ascot Radiology radiologist Dr Anthony Doyle, tomo is proven to have a higher cancer detection rate and a reduced recall rate without any added risk or radiation to patients. Screening with tomo has been shown in peer reviewed independent studies to reduce the chance of dying of breast cancer by one-third.
Traditional digital mammography produces two images of each breast. In some cases, this results in overlapping tissue which can make it more difficult to detect cancers. The tomo creates highly detailed, multilayer images. Positioning is similar to that of a mammogram. The resulting images provide the best possible view of all of the breast tissue, with greater cancer detection across all ages and breast densities.
According to the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer a day in New Zealand.
Dr Anthony Doyle says tomosynthesis mammography is proven to have a higher cancer detection rate.