Helping Women Beat Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in San Mateo County. Yet, if diagnosed early, breast cancer is highly treatable.
To help achieve that goal, the Mills-Peninsula Women's Center is updating its digital mammography to the most advanced technology available: digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT).
"Digital breast tomosynthesis allows three-dimensional views of breast tissue that can uncover tumors that would not be visible in 2-D," Harriet Borofsky, M.D., medical director of imaging at Mills-Peninsula Women's Center, says.
Perhaps just as important, DBT can clearly reveal when unusually dense, overlapping breast tissues are normal, sparing women unnecessary stress and follow-up tests. "Although we call back 15 to 20 percent of women for additional images due to dense, overlapping tissues, the majority of findings in those women are normal," Dr. Borofsky says.
Similar to 2-D mammograms, the breast is compressed before DBT images are made. However, in about four seconds, multiple low dose X-rays are taken in an arc over the breast. Then the tomographic (cross-sectional) images are reconstructed in thin layers and displayed on high-resolution monitors to give the 3-D view.
"It makes the images much easier to interpret, and I think we will find that it leads to an increase in breast cancer detection rates," Dr. Borofsky says.
Mills-Peninsula's goal is to update all five digital mammography suites in the Women's Center with this new technology. Donors have provided $1.6 million toward this campaign, but it will cost an additional $900,000 to fund all five machines.
"Community donors are a key part of our team," Dr. Borofsky says. "Together we have established the Women's Center as a Center of Excellence and as a leader in breast imaging and diagnosis."
With DBT technology, "We can improve health outcomes for women with breast cancer, while reducing the number of healthy women who receive false positives, additional scans and biopsies," she says.