For Breast Cancer Screenings, Get the Total Picture

Making access easy at twenty AHN centers  

Breast tomosynthesis, an advanced technique to find breast cancer early, is available at twenty imaging centers in western Pennsylvania, making it convenient for patients to get this vital preventive screening.

Traditional mammography captures a single image of the breast, while 3D mammography:

  • Takes multiple images in “layers”
  • Allows doctors to see internal breast tissue in sharp detail
  • Minimizes false-positive and false-negative readings
  • Can be helpful for women who have dense breast tissue or are at high risk of developing breast cancer

Advanced techniques covered by health plans

In Pennsylvania, health plans must pay for 3D mammography, which makes it available to more women. 3D mammography:

  • Can be used along with, or in some cases, instead of traditional mammography
  • Delivers safe amounts of radiation, well below federal guidelines

Detecting breast cancer before symptoms appear

Breast cancer screenings are vitally important because:

  • Symptoms don’t typically appear until cancer has spread beyond the breast, when it is harder to treat
  • It is the second most common cancer in the U.S. with 200,000 women diagnosed each year

Medical experts explain

“The addition of these breast tomosynthesis units marks a significant step forward in helping our clinicians detect breast cancer,” said David Bartlett, MD chair, Allegheny Health Network Cancer Institute. “At Allegheny Health Network, we provide our patients with the most effective ways to battle cancer from every possible angle, with innovative procedures, medicines and technology.”

How often are screenings needed?

According to the American Cancer Society:

  • Women age 40 to 44 should talk to their doctor about starting annual mammograms
  • Women between 45 and 54 should be screened each year
  • Women should do monthly, breast self-exams and tell their OB-GYN about any changes

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