Breast cancer gets detected earlier in Schuylkill County

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COALDALE, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Mammograms are a yearly procedure women are recommended to get in order to detect breast cancer, but now there’s an even better option closer by.

The first 3D mammography in the region has arrived at St. Luke’s Hospital in Coaldale.
Eyewitness News reporter Haley Bianco takes us inside for a look.

“I think we can all agree that the best defense against breast cancer is early detection,” said Steve Slackus, radiology director.

Women 40 and older are recommended to get mammograms once a year. They’re used to getting a 2D mammogram.

“Women know that when you have your 2D mammo that so many times you get that call that you have to go back,” said Mariella Miller, patient.

That’s because the 2D image software takes two, one dimensional pictures of the breast, which sometimes isn’t enough.

With 3D imaging, more pictures are being taken, giving radiologists the benefit of seeing masses and tumors within the breast that weren’t able to be seen before.

“We’re taking 6 to 8 pictures of the breast, using the same radiation dose as a 2D standard image, and those images are being reprocessed into hundreds of images for our radiologists to view,” said Slackus.

This is the first hospital in the region to offer the 3D service, meaning locals can now skip the long drive and come to Coaldale for their yearly breast exam.

“With the technology we have with this machine, it makes it affordable for everyone to take that option,” said Barb Porambo, mammographer.

Barb Porambo educates women about mammograms and breast health.
She says if a patient’s insurance covers a 2D mammogram, they can opt for a 3D one instead that would be covered.

She says women with dense breast tissue or a family history of breast cancer are highly recommended to use the 3D software.

“I was born and raised here. It’s just phenomenal to take care of the people of the valley,” said Porambo.

The 3D mammography suite at St. Luke’s in Coaldale is also a sensory suite, used to relax patients and distract them during the procedure.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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