Early detection is more than half the battle in breast cancer cases. Finding cancer in the earliest stages makes a difference, for most women, in whether they live or die. And so when new technology arrives to help in that screening process radiologists like Dr. Jamie Joseph of Our Lady of Lourdes jump on board. The new doc at the St. Agnes Breast Center has been trained on the newest technology used to detect breast cancer — the 3D mammogram — and she’s ready to bring her knowledge to Lafayette.


“We’ll detect cancer earlier and that means better prognosis and more lives saved,” Joseph says.


The Monroe native who spent time in Texas working with the new technology — tomosynthesis — says it’s the latest way to get the best picture of what’s going on in patients. It’s so new, in fact, Lourdes has the machine on order and thinks it will arrive within the next three months.


Tomosynthesis means instead of a typical mammogram that produces a flat 2D image (in which case tissue can overlap making it difficult to clearly differentiate the good, the bad and the in between) the new method takes slices on a much smaller scale creating a more comprehensive picture of the breast.


“It will eventually replace mammograms,” Joseph says.


Recent studies have shown the difference between traditional mammograms and tomosynthesis as significant, with a 41 percent increase in the detection of invasive breast cancer and a 29 percent increase in the detection of all breast cancers, according to a Caldwell Breast Center study.


There seems to be no downside to the new method; Joseph says the machine exposes patients to far less than a maximum radiation dose. In fact, for many patients who have a mammogram and then return again for another one because the first image wasn’t conclusive, the new machine would mean one and done instead of multiple tests. And it ultimately means a better tool for detecting cancer in any patient.


“Breast cancer was once considered a road block and now it’s a speed bump,” Joseph says.





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