3-D mammography now available in Lake Charles - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

3-D mammography now available in Lake Charles

CHRISTUS St. Patrick Women's Health Center radiologist, Dr. Charles Brdlik, compares 2-D mammography to 3-D images. (Source: KPLC) CHRISTUS St. Patrick Women's Health Center radiologist, Dr. Charles Brdlik, compares 2-D mammography to 3-D images. (Source: KPLC)
LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

The latest weapon in the arsenal to identify breast cancer at an earlier stage is now available in Southwest Louisiana.  3-D mammography is now being offered at CHRISTUS St. Patrick Women's Health Center to get a more accurate view of the breast, particularly in women with dense breast tissue.

Radiologist Charles Brdlik studies mammograms every day.  In the 2-D images he showed of one recent mammogram, there is an area of concern.

"There's a fairly white area here that could potentially hide a cancer," said Dr. Brdlik.

But on the 3-D images, that spot is clearly not a potential cancer.

"When I look at it on the 3-D as I roll through it, all of those tissues, those individual planes kind of get rolled through and basically what you can see is there's no real mass in that area," said Dr. Brdlik.

2-D has been the standard of care until recently, with the upgrade of technology adding a third dimension, changing the way breast tissue is imaged.

"In the past, if you consider the breast a deck of cards, we were taking a picture of the whole deck of cards and trying to find let's say an ace," said Dr. Brdlik.  "With this machine, what we're doing is essentially we're able to look at each individual card to see which one is the ace that we're looking for."

The process for the patient is no different than before.

We followed along with Debbie Link for her annual mammogram, where she picked the 3-D option over 2-D.

"It takes about five minutes and you go in and they do the test," said Link.  "It is a little painful, but it's not horrible and it's worth it."

The earlier detection of breast cancer is definitely the biggest advantage, but next to that, Dr. Brdlick says it is reducing the amount of callbacks for women who do not actually have problematic screenings.

"Any time we call a woman back for an additional view, it causes anxiety, that's just natural," he said.  "By not having to do that, I think we're offering a lot of relief to the women in the sense that they don't have to worry about those things any more."

That peace of mind is huge for women like Link who have traveled out of town before to access the best breast cancer imaging options.

"I've gone to Houston on occasion and I think many people did because the machines were better over there, at least we thought they were," said Link.  "This is an advantage to Lake Charles now to have this locally."

Some insurance companies will cover 3-D mammography, but it is not the norm yet.  The fee at CHRISTUS St. Patrick Women's Health Center on Country Club Road in Lake Charles is $200 for a 2-D mammogram and $300 for a 3-D mammogram if insurance does not cover it.

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