3-D Mammograms

3-D Mammograms
Randy McKee

Wooster Community is one of the few area hospitals that provide 3-D imaging for each of the 4,900 women who have mammograms done there every year.


Early detection of breast cancer improves the chances of successful treatment, said Dave Harrison, director of imaging at Wooster Community Hospital. That’s one reason why Wooster Community is one of the few area hospitals that provide 3-D imaging for each of the 4,900 women who have mammograms done there every year.

“Three-dimensional imaging is a game changer in mammography,” Harrison said.

While increasing the chances of early cancer detection, 3-D mammography also reduces the chances of false positives, those stressful events when “something” is found that may or may not be a cancerous tumor. False positives can result in anxiety while a woman waits for additional testing to determine whether or not she has cancer.

“Three-dimensional mammography decreases the recall rate for extra views,” said Gabriele Pedicelli, MD, a radiologist at Wooster Community Hospital.

The 2-D images provided by traditional mammograms lack the benefit of depth when they are viewed by a radiologist.

“Three-dimensional mammography allows us to actually see the breast image in layers of thin slices, almost like a loaf of bread,” Harrison explained. “It provides a more accurate perspective of a mass that could be a cyst, a tumor or just dense tissue.”

Harrison said being able to fully view a lump of tissue called a spiculated mass in 3-D often can confirm or rule out cancer.

“A spiculated mass has protrusions like small fingers and is most likely a sign of cancer,” Harrison said. “Without a 3-D image we often can’t get the appreciation for the spiculated portions of the mass. With the 3-D image we’re able to see that the mass doesn’t have the protrusions, and we can conclude that it’s a cyst or something that isn’t cancer without having to schedule follow-up tests.”

Wooster Community was the first hospital in the area to offer 3-D mammography when it began using the advanced technology in 2016.

Erin Gallagher, a mammography technologist, said Wooster Community’s advancement in women’s care is particularly important to her.

“With a strong family history of breast cancer in my family, I’m proud to say that I work for a health system that provides the best and earliest detection for breast cancer that other facilities may not have at this time,” Gallagher said.

Harrison said women should have annual mammograms done beginning at the age of 40.

“That’s the age when some women begin to go into menopause, which typically brings about changes in their breasts,” Harrison said. “It’s the age when we start to see an up-tick in the development of cancer. Using 40 as the starting point, there has been an increase in early detection over the past several decades, and with early detection comes better outcomes.”

Although many hospitals offer 3-D mammograms only to some patients, all mammograms done at Wooster Community are 3-D.

“Our guidelines ensure that all patients are treated the same and receive the same technology for diagnosis,” Harrison said. “Financial assistance is available so that everybody is able to get this important test.”

Options include “package pricing” discounts for patients who are paying themselves, such as those with high-deductible medical insurance plans. Women in Wayne County also may find help through Wooster Community’s Posies for Mammograms program.

Mammograms at Wooster Community are done in the hospital’s new Women’s Specialty Center, located in the Outpatient Pavilion.

“The Women’s Specialty Center is very private, and everything is done behind closed doors,” Harrison said. “Because many women’s services are in the same area, it’s in a convenient location. If additional testing is needed, it’s easy to do, and physicians’ offices are located right upstairs. We’re working to make it more convenient. Patients can see their doctor, and if they have to get a diagnostic test with a scheduled appointment, they can go right downstairs.”  

To schedule a 3-D mammogram, call 330-263-8660. Learn more about 3-D mammography at WoosterHospital.org under the WCH Services tab. Wooster Community Hospital is located at 1761 Beall Ave. in Wooster.

Loading next article...

End of content

No more pages to load