Every day, technology and science reach milestones and break barriers that have changed peoples’ lives.

The cure for breast cancer continues to elude researchers, but preventative measures as well as proven effective plans of attack have not, with one of the latest discoveries now available to those in Jacksonville and the surrounding area.

About 3D Mammograms

Physicians have been encouraging mammograms for the detection of breast cancer since the 1970s.

In 2011 the FDA approved Hologic’s 3D mammography technology for use and in less than three years, it proved it was going to change breast health.

“A 3D mammogram detects 41 percent more invasive cancers (than a 2D mammogram),” Registered Mammography Technologist at Onslow Imaging Center for Women Jaime Caldwell said. “The 3D images result in fewer call backs and repeated imaging.”

The revolutionary scan takes only a few seconds longer than the traditional 2D mammogram and requires no extra compression of the breast tissue.

“During the 3D part of the exam, the x-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over your breast, taking multiple breast images (from different angles),” OMC’s website said. “Then, a computer produces a 3D image of your breast tissue in one millimeter slices, providing greater visibility for the radiologist to see breast detail in a way never before possible. They can scroll through images of your entire breast like pages of a book.”

The 3D image created by the new technology allows a more detailed view of the breast, giving radiologists a better understanding of the breast make-up, as well as any abnormalities that may be present.

Because 3D mammograms are still a new means of imaging and screening, some insurances do not cover the cost of the exam, and a referral from a physician is needed.

Onslow Medical Center

Onslow Medical Center has offered 3D mammograms to patients since 2014, and the results are what make the availability in Jacksonville worthwhile.

“This kind of imaging is important because it is a dramatic new way of detecting breast cancer early,” Caldwell said. “Early detection leads to a higher survival rate.”

Women are encouraged to receive mammograms as part of their routine health check-ups, but that doesn’t make the procedure any less stressful.

Adding the word “cancer” to any medical test creates a situation that can be anything but comfortable, Caldwell explained.

“We see patients that are nervous and scared,” she said. “We try to relieve their fears by explaining the exam to them. We pride ourselves here at Women’s Imaging in making our patients as comfortable as possible before, during and after the exam.”

Facilities that do offer the 3D option are encouraging all women to take advantage of the technology available, not just those who are at higher risk for breast cancer.

During the month of October and until Nov. 11, “Get the Mammogram, Save the Moolah” is in effect and all women scheduled for an appointment and seen at the OMC Women’s Imaging will receive a free bracelet as well as local coupons.

The Imaging Center for Women is located at 121 Memorial Drive in Jacksonville and is open 7:45 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and 6:45 a.m-4:30 p.m. Wednesday and Friday. To schedule an appointment, call 910-577-2323. For more information specifically about 3D mammograms call 910-577-2323 or visit onslow.org/mammogram.

Carteret Health Care

Morehead City has joined the growing list of medical facilities providing 3D mammograms to their patients as a way to detect and combat cancer.

The Pink Ribbon Facility has been recognized for its excellence in breast health, and offering the state-of-the-art Genius 3D mammogram technology is considered another line of defense in the center’s efforts to fight cancer.

“We also have Dr. Mindy Merritt who is a certified American Board Surgeon and Fellowship Trained Breast Surgeon here in Carteret County,” Director of Oncology Services Sherry King said. “She is a wonderful asset to our community.”

Trained technicians and physicians work to ensure each patient is comfortable during their 3D mammogram.

For more information on how to schedule a mammogram at CHC’s Imaging Center call 252-808-6010.

The center is open 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and is located at 3402 Arendell St. in Morehead City.

Carteret OB/GYN Associates

Another Pink Ribbon Certified facility, Carteret OB/GYN Associates, also offers 3D mammograms in their Morehead City office.

Carteret OB/GYN Associates was the first in Carteret County to begin using the digital method of imaging, adding 3D mammograms in December of last year.

“It is the latest in breast health technology,” Office Manager Cindy Knox said. “It is just another way for us to provide the best care to our patients that we possibly can.”

Although those not currently seen as a patient at Carteret OB/GYN are welcome to utilize the services the office offers, they must have an order or referral from their physician before scheduling an appointment.

Carteret OB/GYN has two locations, but only the Morehead City location offers the 3D mammogram service.

The Morehead City office is located at 3511 John Platt Dr. and is open 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Tuesday and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Friday.

To schedule an appointment or for more information call 252-247-4297 or visit carteretobgyn.com.