BC Women’s first in province to offer 3D breast screening with tomosynthesis

August 22 2012
Tour the Sadie Diamond Breast Health Imaging Centre and see why digital mammography with tomosynthsis will make a difference for the women of BC. Linda Aylesworth reports on Global BC Health Headlines.

Powerful Images

State-of-the-art tomosynthesis digital imaging will save even more women’s lives through the early detection of breast cancer.

Digital imaging technology has transformed modern medicine, but nowhere has its vital importance and value been more evident than in the early detection of breast cancer. As a key referral centre for breast screening and diagnostics in BC, the Sadie Diamond Breast Health Imaging Centre at BC Women’s Hospital will employ the latest innovations in advanced digital breast imaging, including a system called tomosynthesis.

The 3-D Advantage
While traditional film mammograms take images from two different angles, digital mammography with tomosynthesis takes high-resolution pictures from multiple angles, and then combines them into computer-generated 3-D images. This provides an ability to see the tissue of a woman’s breast in slices so the doctor can view critical details more easily. Tomosynthesis is an advance in breast imaging that Dr. Paula Gordon, Medical Director of the Breast Program at BC Women’s, describes as “an important step forward” for mammography and women’s health in BC.

Gordon says that high-quality imaging has other benefits, too, including minimizing the need for recalls. Traditionally, for every 1,000 women screened, 70 are called back for further imaging and tests. Using tomosynthesis has the potential to reduce callbacks, while still finding more cancers. In most cases, conclusive images will be taken right at the initial screening. It’s an advance that will help eliminate difficult days or even weeks of waiting for results.

The Sadie Diamond Breast Health Imaging Centre, made possible thanks to a $3-million donation from the Gordon and Leslie Diamond family, promises to improve the chances of finding a woman’s breast cancer at its earliest and most treatable stages. In addition, its Fellowship Program will play an important role in training the next generation of breast imagers.

As chair of the Academic Committee of the Screening Mammography Program of BC, Gordon knows that regular mammograms save lives. The key to reducing deaths due to breast cancer lies in women attending screening, and having access to high-quality examinations. It’s an effort where healthy, breast-cancer-free women will be the living proof of its success.


Article by Nancy Gratham

In photo: Dr. Paula Gordon at the Sadie Diamond Breast Health Imaging Centre.