Access to 3D mammography for patients in Palmerston North - Latest news • Breast Cancer Foundation NZ

Access to 3D mammography for patients in Palmerston North

Now women in the central North Island will have access to sophisticated breast imaging thanks to your generous donations.

Breast tomosynthesis, or tomo, is a kind of 3D mammography that uses a low-dose x-ray system and computer reconstructions to create detailed images of the breasts. Clinical trials have shown that tomo finds up to 40% more invasive cancers with 15% fewer false positives than traditional 2D mammography; finds smaller cancers; and can be better at finding cancers in dense breast tissue.

Breast Cancer Foundation NZ’s chief executive Van Henderson says, “Breast tomosynthesis gives radiologists a better picture of what’s going on in the breast, but it’s not yet widely available in New Zealand. We’re delighted to be able to supply this state-of-the-art technology, costing $140,000, to benefit patients at Palmerston North hospital.”

Physically, tomo is a bolt-on upgrade to an existing mammography machine. The patient has her mammogram, then waits another minute for the device to scan each breast. MidCentral District Health Board estimates they will use tomo on 1,500 to 2,000 patients per year, which will keep the machine at full capacity. Tomo will be used to assess patients with abnormal screening mammogram results; to assess lumps or other symptoms in younger women referred by their GPs; and to screen higher-risk women (e.g. those with BRCA mutation). “Tomo will give doctors and patients greater certainty about potential abnormalities, help reduce unnecessary biopsies, and find cancers smaller and earlier,” says Mrs Henderson. “This is an exciting investment in improving early detection and diagnosis, and we are so grateful to our donors for making this possible.”