New tool changing breast cancer detection

Posted by Bryce Mursch

It may look like a big Xerox machine, but it's 3D ultrasound technology that's making the detection of breast cancer easier and, doctors say, is diagnosing it earlier.

Nancy Oppenheimer-Marks has a family history of breast cancer.

"I have very fibrous breasts, they're dense, and there's a lot of stuff there that can interfere with the analysis of the mammogram," said Oppenheimer-Marks.

Nancy Oppenheimer-Marks has a personal connection to breast cancer.

"My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999, cancer free now," explains Oppenheimer-Marks.

Because of that, she's on top of detecting it. The 3D ultrasound detected a cyst, which doctors concluded was not cancerous.

A mammogram may have not have delivered that news with certainty.

"We can look at those images on a workstation and manipulate them, turn them back and forth, up and down, from side to side, look at the images in 3D and allow us to do a very wonderful screening," said Radiologist Dr. Phil Evans.

In the past, the breast scans could only show a very flat image of the breast tissue. But the new 3D technology shows 500 different views.

Doctors are careful to emphasize the technology doesn't take the place of the mammogram but it supplements the screening.

Oppenheimer-Marks says she's grateful for these advancements and is hoping one day for a cure.

"Not only do we have the tools for the detection but if you detect early enough, you can treat this. Don't die from breast cancer," said Oppenheimer-Marks.