Patients visiting the radiology department at Chadron Community Hospital for a mammography now have cutting-edge technology available.
The hospital is the first in the Panhandle to install and use a 3D mammography machine, which allows doctors and lab technicians to review scans in one-millimeter slices. The $300,000 Hologoic Dimensions machine, made possible by funding from the Chadron Community Hospital Foundation and the Schmeckel estate, should find 45-60 percent more breast cancers earlier, said Jodi Dannar, who runs the radiology department at the hospital.
The tomogram image created by the new 3D machine makes it possible to see under denser layers of tissue, she explained.
Every patient having a mammogram at the hospital benefits from the technology, Dannar said.
“It’s amazing how much more we can see,” she said.
It’s similar to looking at an apple on its side, Danner explained. If there are two seeds on top of each other, the bottom one will be invisible to the eye. The 3D machine makes each layer visible – each seed would be viewable on the image at different times - as the radiologists move through the tissue layers.
The ability to locate breast cancer earlier, even in the densest layers of tissue, increases patients’ chances at recovery.
The machine has another added benefit – the paddle is curved rather than straight – making the test more comfortable for patients.
Hospitals in both Scottsbluff and Alliance are expected to install 3D mammography equipment in the near future, Dannar said.