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Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital now offering 3D mammograms

The new 3D mammogram machine provides women in the area with better access to better scans.

BLUE HILL, Maine — A new tool in the fight against breast cancer for certain patients is now being used at Blue Hill Hospital.

The new 3D mammogram machine provides women in the area with better access to better scans, these 3D scans let doctors more easily detect cancers at their earlier stages.

"What the 3D tomosynthesis does is it essentially takes the breast tissue and separates it for us, so you can really look in between underlying breast tissue and overlapping breast tissue," Natalie Stanley, director of imaging at Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital, said. 

The new 3D mammogram system detects 40 percent more invasive cancers than the 2D machines and supporting stronger health services in Hancock County. 

This 3D technology is helping doctors better detect lumps that may be cancerous.  

"We went from having a standard 2D mammography unit to a new 3D unit, it's really the standard of care in screening mammographies these days," Stanley said.

The technology in the newest machine allows doctors to see a woman's breast tissue from different angles. "3D imaging, is good for women that have dense breast tissue, so they are at an advantage using this technology, but also, it's known to pick up tumors and fatty breast tissue as well," adds Stanley.

"3D allows us to assess the images differently, it cuts down on the need for repeat images, call-backs, and unnecessary biopsies," says Mike Murnik, senior physician executive at Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital. 

The annual recommended health plan for women starting at 40 years of age includes a screening mammography.

"It does help detect cancer early which is our goal," Murnik said.

On average, 1,200 mammograms are done every year at Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital. "We've been providing a great service to our patients, now we are just able to provide an even better service to our patients," Stanley said.

Funds raised through Northern Light's Starlight Evening “campaign/virtual toast” and through private donations, have allowed its imaging department to purchase this new equipment.

“Our patients deserve exceptional care, provided by a highly skilled team using advanced technology. This advancement plays a critical role in our mission as we continue to improve the health of our community," John Ronan, president of NL Blue Hill Hospital, said.

Blue Hill Hospital is currently scheduling 3D mammography appointments, to schedule one call 207-374-3999.