New 3D Mammography at Northwest Women’s Imaging Offers Chance to Diagnose Breast Cancer Earlier

Northwest Women’s Imaging (NWI) announces another first for Tucson in the evaluation and detection of breast cancer. NWI is the first and only Tucson facility to offer 3D mammography—called breast tomosynthesis—for breast cancer screening. Breast tomosynthesis produces a three-dimensional view of the breast tissue providing greater visibility for the radiologist to see breast tissue detail in a way not possible before.

The 3D mammogram offers exceptionally sharp breast images reducing the need to call women back for a “second look” by 20-40 percent, according to recent studies.1,2 NWI’s Medical Director, Dr. Gary Wood says, “We are very excited to offer this diagnostic advancement to women in Tucson. Early detection of cancer can dramatically improve a woman’s chance at surviving breast cancer and 3D mammography improves the rate of early detection. We believe this can save lives.” In addition, 3D mammography finds cancers earlier than traditional 2D mammography alone, with a 27% increase in cancer detection and 40% increase in invasive cancer detection.3

A 3D mammogram is very similar to a traditional mammogram. There is no additional compression of the breast and it only takes a few seconds longer for each view. With Northwest’s new equipment, a women’s exposure is the same as with 2D digital mammography and eliminates the need to do both 2D and 3D imaging separately.

According to Dr. Wood, breast tomosynthesis can benefit all screening and diagnostic mammography patients and is especially valuable for women receiving a baseline screening, those who have dense breast tissue and/or women with a personal history of breast cancer. In contrast to many centers in the country that offer 3D only to selected patients, or have added a surcharge, NWI makes the new technology available to all patients without a surcharge for the 3D technology.

In offering 3D mammography, NWI continues its dedication to helping women in Tucson stay healthy. Patients who would like to schedule a 3D mammogram may call 469-8810.

Northwest Medical Center
Northwest Medical Center is a 300-bed hospital offering a full range of healthcare services including Emergency services, accredited chest pain and heart failure programs, neurology and neurosurgery, outpatient imaging, a nationally accredited surgical weight loss program, total joint program, spine program and stroke center (distinguished by Joint Commission with Gold Seal designations), robotic surgery, GI lab, a free-standing women’s center, women’s imaging center of excellence (including 3D mammography) inpatient rehabilitation facility, wound care center, four urgent care facilities, and the Lazos de Familia and Healthy Beginnings pregnancy outreach programs. NMC also has three ambulatory surgery centers and Northwest Allied Physicians, an affiliated physician practice offering primary care and a wide range of specialists. For more information, visit

1 Philpotts L, Raghu M, Durand M, et al. Initial Experience with Digital Breast Tomosynthesis in Screening Mammography. Presented at the ARRS 2012, Scientific Session 22 – Breast Imaging: Screening/Emerging Technologies
2 Haas B et al. Performance of Digital Breast Tomosynthesis Compared to Conventional Digital Mammography for Breast Cancer Screening. Radiological Society of North America annual meeting. Chicago, IL, 2012
3 Skaane P, Bandos A, Gullien R, et al. “Comparison of Digital Mammography Alone and Digital Mammography Plus Tomosynthesis in a Population-based Screening Program.” Radiology. 2013 Apr; 267(1):47-56. Epub 2013 Jan 7.

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