With a family history of breast cancer, Jane Crowder knew the importance of her annual screening mammogram. In fact, due to her mother’s ductal carcinoma in-situ (DCIS) diagnosis at age 49, Jane started receiving mammograms at age 35, per her doctor’s recommendation. This year, at 44, Jane’s diligence to having her annual mammogram and her commitment to 3D technology paid off.
Jane knew that her family history put her at a greater risk for getting breast cancer. With this always in the back of her mind, she wanted to be as thorough as possible when it came to both her image quality and the interpretation of her scans. Jane started getting her yearly mammograms at Wake Radiology, upon a referral from her OB-GYN provider, when she moved back to North Carolina six years ago. When the practice introduced 3D mammography, Jane was automatically on board, regardless of the additional cost.
“I wanted the in-depth aspect of the 3D. I wanted to have images with the best detail and clarity possible,” Jane says. “Knowing my mom had DCIS, I didn’t want anything left unseen.”
In May 2017, Jane had her annual 3D mammogram at one of the Wake Radiology office in Raleigh. When she received a call the following day, she knew something was different. One of the breast imaging patient coordinators explained that the radiologist saw an area of concern on her mammogram and they wanted her to come back in for a breast ultrasound. Jane’s breast ultrasound confirmed there was a “spot” that needed further examination. An image-guided, fine-needle biopsy helped diagnosis her “spot” as breast cancer.
Jane’s tumor was only 6 millimeters — about the size of the fingernail on your pinkie. It was so small that the doctor didn’t even classify it as Stage 1 since it was so early in development.
“My provider told me that no radiologist would have ever been able to catch it — let alone see it — without the 3D mammogram images,” says Jane. “They even compared the 2D and 3D images and the spot was completely undetectable on the 2D pictures. Plus, it was way too small for me to even feel.”
With a family history of breast cancer, Jane is now weighing her treatment options — (1) a lumpectomy followed by five and half weeks of radiation, (2) a mastectomy on her right breast, or (3) a bilateral mastectomy.
One of the biggest factors in her decision will be the results from her genetics testing. Jane decided to get testing done for nine specific genes, including BRCA1 and BRCA2 — the two most common breast cancer genes. If Jane tested negative for those tests, but tested positive for the BARD 1 mutation. That meant that a bilateral mastectomy would be the hardest, but most aggressive treatment plan available.
Remarkably, throughout this entire process, Jane has shared her story with friends and family and encourages everyone she talks with to be seen in 3D.
“If any woman was ever deciding whether or not to get a 3D mammogram, I would be willing to talk with them,” Jane says. “3D imaging saved my life. The $60 I paid kept me from a year of cell growth that would have taken place if I had a traditional, 2D exam. Who knows how big the tumor would have grown in that time.”
Thankfully, insurance carriers are recognizing the importance of 3D mammography and this portion of your screening mammogram is currently covered by most major insurers in our area. Starting October 1, 2017, we will also be in network with United Healthcare. We always recommend that you verify coverage with your carrier before your appointment. Wake Radiology offers payment plans for all exams, including 3D mammograms. Our breast imaging radiologists believe so strongly in this advanced technology we don’t want costs to keep you from having this potentially lifesaving screening.
Schedule Your Mammogram
Screening mammograms save lives and Wake Radiology is proud to be the Triangle’s leader in 3D mammography. If you’re over 40 and have not had your annual screening mammogram, request an appointment today by calling us at 919.232.4700 or by clicking here to complete an appointment request form.