images of breasts in a
way that is similar to a CT
(computed tomography) scan. Instead of a
static image, the 3D mammo takes images
of the breasts in “slices” (think loaf of bread),
so radiologists have more information.
“Like the pages of a book, every page
has more info on it,” says Colleen Berga,
manager of the Sonnenalp Breast Center.
“Having this technology reduces our
rate of callbacks for additional testing,
and increases detectability rates.”
Shaw adheres to the American Cancer
Society guidelines for mammography, and
recommends that women start mammo
screenings at age 40, and every year thereafter.
If you have a strong family history of
cancer and/or breast cancer, you should start
screening 10 years earlier than the age a family
member was diagnosed (if you mother was
diagnosed at 40, start your screening at 30).
Also, see your physician if you have breast
concerns, or feel a lump, experience nipple
discharge, skin appearance or texture
change and/or unilateral breast pain.
Right now, mammography is the “gold
standard” for breast imaging, Berga
says, at about 85 percent detection
sensitive. If mammography is combined
with breast ultrasounds, the sensitivity
increases to 90 to 95 percent.
Wetzel is in her 40s, and she does self-breast exams
often and gets mammograms routinely. To date, she’s
had five. “I would so much rather hear the bad news earlier,
rather than later,” says Cathy. “Hopefully I will never have to
hear the bad news, but it’s so common; there are a lot of
women who I know in the valley who have or have had
breast cancer.”Most mammograms take about 15 minutes
to complete, though the uncomfortable part is much faster.
"It's a squeezing … they do it very quickly,” she says. “You’re
standing there for maybe a minute or two and getting
squeezed, but it's not bad." Wetzel likes the atmosphere at
the Shaw. “The technicians are great, and will talk
about anything to make you not think about
having your boob squeezed,” she says.
To schedule an appointment for a
mammogram, call the Sonnenalp
Breast Center at (970) 569-7690.
Berga said to see your primary care
physician prior to getting a clinical
breast exam, to determine what
type of screening to schedule.
For more information, visit
The Shaw Regional Cancer Center’s
Sonnenalp Breast Center now