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Catching Breast Cancer Early, Accurately with 3-D Mammography

The best mammogram is the one not followed up by a call asking you to come back in for another mammogram because something looks inconclusive.

Fortunately, breast tomosynthesis − also known as 3-D mammography − is now available at three Northern Arizona Healthcare locations and only costs an additional $15, which may be covered by your insurance. This advanced technology creates a high-resolution, three-dimensional image of the breast and reduces false positives – as well as the worry, expense and extra radiation that come along with that follow-up call from the hospital.

Breast cancer screening exams at Verde Valley Medical Center − Sedona Campus and Verde Valley Medical Imaging Center are available by appointment at patient request. Women at average risk for breast cancer should begin yearly screenings at age 45. Women at higher than average risk should consult with their primary care providers about when to begin screenings.

In addition, diagnostic screening exams are available at VVMC for patients who had a previous abnormal screening; report breast cancer symptoms or are referred by a physician. A radiologist is available on site at VVMC to examine diagnostic screening results with patients.

According to NAH Medical Imaging Services Director, Liz Palomino, research shows 3-D mammography exams are more accurate than conventional mammograms for women with either dense or non-dense breasts.

“This technology can reduce unnecessary callbacks up to 40 percent,” Palomino said. “We are so excited about being able to offer this technology. Purchasing this state-of-the-art equipment demonstrates how dedicated Northern Arizona Healthcare is to promoting the health of our patient population.”

3-D mammography’s greater degree of detail means it is able to detect and pinpoint breast cancer at a higher and earlier rate − on average, about 15 months earlier than conventional mammography.

With early diagnosis, the breast cancer survival rate is almost 100 percent.

The 3-D mammogram experience is about the same as a traditional one, in terms of compression and positioning. The difference lies in the technology itself: A traditional mammogram takes pictures top to bottom and side to side across the breast, while a 3-D mammogram records data throughout the imaging process. This eliminates the tissue overlap which can degrade lesion visibility. Early results with digital tomosynthesis are promising for all breast types.

To schedule a mammogram, call 928-649-1260. QCBN

 Northern Arizona Healthcare is creating healthier communities by providing wellness, prevention and medical care through Flagstaff Medical Center, Verde Valley Medical Center, Verde Valley Medical Center – Sedona Campus, Northern Arizona Healthcare – Camp Verde Campus, Northern Arizona Healthcare Medical Group – Flagstaff, Verde Valley Medical Clinic, the Cancer Centers of Northern Arizona Healthcare, Northern Arizona Healthcare Orthopedic Surgery Center, EntireCare Rehab & Sports Medicine, the Weight Management Clinic, the Heart & Vascular Center of Northern Arizona, the Sleep & Pulmonary Center, BeWellNow, Guardian Air and Guardian Medical Transport. We also provide comprehensive imaging, laboratory and pharmacy services throughout the region. Many of the services we provide, including Fit Kids of Arizona, The Taylor House and Valley View Care, receive major funding through the NAH Foundation.

 For more information on Northern Arizona Healthcare programs and services, visit “Like” NAH at

By Sophia Papa



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