St. Joseph Health Provides Advanced Imaging Technology to Petaluma

St. Joseph Health Provides Advanced Imaging Technology to Petaluma

3D Mammography Breast Cancer Screenings Now Available at Petaluma Valley Hospital

Petaluma Valley Hospital recently purchased a Hologic® 3D Mammography™ machine, providing radiologists with another tool to screen and diagnose breast cancer. This technology is the newest addition to the hospital’s breast cancer screening program, which also includes highly accurate digital 2D mammography. The purchase was made possible by grants and generous community contributions to Petaluma Valley Hospital Foundation’s 3D Tomosynthesis Mammography campaign, which is bringing the latest in cancer screening to South Sonoma County.

“This is the most advanced technology for breast cancer screening, and we are thrilled to have it here in Petaluma,” said Todd Salnas, President of St. Joseph Heath, Sonoma County. “We are dedicated to providing South Sonoma County residents with compassionate, high quality care, while allowing them to be screened close to home.”

3D Mammography uses a technique called “breast tomosynthesis,” which reveals fine details that may otherwise be hidden. The final images are then converted into a stack of very thin layers, or “slices,” for the radiologist to review. Conventional 2D mammograms can be limiting due to overlapping layers of tissue, which can sometimes produce unclear results, false alarms, or worse — cancer being missed. By producing a series of detailed breast images, the radiologist can better evaluate the breast layer by layer. This greater accuracy means better breast cancer detection and a reduced chance of being called back for additional screening.

Furthermore, the unit provides stereotactic breast biopsy, which uses low-dose x-rays to locate a breast abnormality and remove a small tissue sample for examination. This is less invasive than surgical biopsy, leaves little to no scarring, and is an excellent way to evaluate calcium deposits or tiny masses that are not visible through ultrasound.

For patients, the process is very similar to receiving a routine mammogram. The technologist positions the patient, compresses the breast, and takes images from different angles. The 3D exam lasts only a few seconds longer per image and uses very low X-ray energy, keeping radiation exposure below FDA guidelines. No additional breast compression is required. The Hologic® 3D Mammography™ system can take both a 2D and 3D image set; the 2D image can be either an acquired 2D image or a 2D image generated from the 3D image set.

Doctors agree that early detection is the best defense against breast cancer, which affects one in every eight women over the course of a lifetime. If breast cancer is found early, the five-year survival rate is almost 100 percent.1 In 2017, an estimated 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in women in the United States2. Women are encouraged to speak to their primary care physician to discuss whether 3D mammography is the best option for them.