WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) Many things have evolved in the fight against breast cancer, especially the technology involved in detecting lumps of cancerous cells. Former mammogram machines used two plates to flatten the breast and low intensity x-rays on large sheets of film. Fast-forward to today and mammograms have gone digital.

“…1 out of 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in time in their life,” says United Regional’s women’s imaging coordinator, Susan Young. “The best means of prevention through early detection is having an annual mammogram once you reach the age of 40.”

In 2012, Young says the hospital acquired several 3D imaging mammogram machines, becoming the first in community to use advanced screening for breast cancer.

“3D is an important piece because what that does is that it provides essentially a mini ct of the breast and not just a two dimensional image– you get multiple images recreated by the computer at every millimeter of the breast tissue through the that breast, that way there’s nothing that’s going to hide.”

This makes detection much more powerful and accurate.

“We want to be able to catch that breast cancer in its smallest, smallest stages when it’s the size of less than a pea or even a dot on an image,” says Young, “that’s when you get 98, 99, 100 percent cure rates.”

In the event that your tests come back abnormal, Young says 1 of two things will happen. You may get a call back for some additional imaging to make sure the makeup of your breast is normal for you, whether that means you have dense breasts or breasts with fibroids. They may call you back to take a couple of extra images that the radiologist has recommended, and do a target breast ultrasound afterwards, which will tell the doctors more about the abnormal area and if it’s cancerous. If it is, this does not mean you’ll have to start rounds of chemo the next day.

Another important thing to remember is 3D mammograms are now covered by nearly all insurance providers.

“Why not get 100% paid mammogram when your insurance will cover it, then at 40 your insurance will cover annual mammograms.”

That way you or your loved ones have more of a fighting chance of catching curing this disease, before it’s too late.

If you’d like to schedule your appointment with breast health services at United Regional, click here.