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Crouse Breast Health Center debuts new 3D digital mammography technology

A 3-D digital mammography machine at Crouse Health
Ellen Abbott
A 3-D digital mammography machine at Crouse Health

The Crouse Breast Health Center is celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month with new mammography technology. Gifts from the Saint Agatha Foundation and JMA Wireless have allowed Crouse to buy the next-generation 3D digital units.

Director Dr. Stephen Montgomery said this is the latest version of 3-D technology that has been around now for a decade.

"The resolution of the machine is increased, it's doubled, which is remarkable for digital examinations," Montgomery said. "And its software is faster, everything's you know, faster just like a 10-year-old TV, right? You go and you buy a new TV."

These new machines could also be used in the future for contrast-based imaging, which would be especially beneficial for women with dense breasts.

3-D mammography has changed the breast cancer world, said Montgomery.

"We found cancers less than three millimeters," Montgomery said. "We're finding things that — three millimeters is an eighth of an inch, right? So we're approaching detection levels that are far below what the magic number is, which is about 15 millimeters. Anything below that the patients tend to do very, very well. Anything below 10 millimeters they do fantastic."

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women and the second most common cause of death. Montgomery worries about the women who don’t have regular mammograms, noting that most of the time they come out normal.

"It's better to know and to get screened," Montgomery said. "Remember, the vast majority of women who come through and get screened do not have breast cancer. We want to reassure you of that and we will. God forbid you are one of the ones that going to get it, we want to find it when it is absolutely as small as possible to guarantee you, essentially guarantee you, a normal life after your treatment.”

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.