|Dr. Lynn Mastey
tomosythesis, or 3-D mammography, was approved by the FDA in early
2011. Statistics show that this technology, in the five years since
its inception, has increased detection of invasive cancers compared
with 2-D mammography by up to 40 percent. However, not until recently
have doctors been able to perform a mammography and biopsy at the same
time, using the same piece of equipment.
Franciscan Healthcare is the first health care system in the state to
use the new Affirm breast biopsy guidance system. In conjunction with
mammography diagnostic imaging, Affirm allows radiologists to easily
locate and focus on regions of the breast for immediate biopsy.
benefit is that it allows us to target and biopsy abnormalities in the
breast that are only seen with 3-D mammography," says Dr. Lynn
Mastey, a radiologist affiliated with Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare.
abnormalities found using 3-D mammography have to be located again
with either ultrasound or an MRI and then biopsied. It requires extra,
lengthier procedures with no guaranteed results. Affirm simply
attaches to the imaging equipment, allowing doctors to perform a
biopsy following a mammogram.
Marci Riley, 63,
of Oak Creek had two masses removed from one of her breasts last year.
After one of the masses was detected and biopsied using older
technology, doctors noticed another mass. The new Affirm technology
was used to biopsy the second mass before it had time to grow.
was so small, that was the best. Thank God the equipment was
there," says Riley. "If they wouldn’t have been able to
use the new technology, they probably just would have marked it, and
three years from now I might be having surgery again because it could
have turned into cancer," she adds.
of the new technology is it allows women to sit upright in a chair
when getting the procedure instead of lying on their stomachs or in
other uncomfortable positions, sometimes for 30 minutes or longer.
to be at least a half-hour procedure we’ve gotten down to on average
about seven to 10 minutes with this new equipment," says Mastey.
Franklin hospital began using Affirm last spring and is currently the
only Wheaton facility that offers the procedure. While 3-D mammography
is not yet the standard of care for all women, Mastey believes it soon
will be. She also hopes that the Affirm technology catches on as well
and becomes the standard of care when it comes to breast biopsies.
have the ability to get at a tumor and diagnosis it one way or the
other, either benign or malignant, then there’s value to the
technology," says Mastey.