News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- In October, pink is just about everywhere you look for breast cancer awareness month. Part of the awareness is encouraging women to get a mammogram.
And now it's easier than ever. State-of-the-art technology is giving doctors at one local hospital views like never before.
Georgia Health Sciences Medical Center is one of only a handful of hospitals in the country that can give you a 3D look at what's going on.
Vivian Burch will never forget the date March 30, 2005. It was the day she found out she had stage four breast cancer.
"It was life changing ... life changing," Burch said.
It's been six years and Burch is a proud cancer-free survivor, but she does think about it.
"You worry. When you get a little ache and pain or whatever you worry about what it is," Burch said.
Now, with 3D mammogram technology, doctors have an even better chance of helping breast cancer patients like Burch.
"Everything has gotten smaller and smaller and smaller and better and better and better," explained Georgia Health Sciences Medical Center Radiologist James Craft.
Instead of just two basic snapshots, now there are hundreds of images from all directions.
"You can even see the blood vessels running through," said Georgia Health Sciences Medical Center Mammographer Kellie Bedenbaugh.
It's the only 3D machine in Georgia, and just one of a few in the United States.
"Mammograms are not perfect. Nothing's 100 percent but this is as close as we can get and this is a huge leap," Bedenbaugh said.
Not only is it more comfortable for the patient, it's also saving more lives by detecting lumps earlier and more accurately.
"It helps us localize masses better because now instead of just seeing two static images, you can know exactly where and how deep that mass is in the tissue," Bedenbaugh said.
Just take Vivian's advice.
"Don't hesitate, get checked. It's the only thing that saved my life," she said.
Breast cancer is the second leading type of cancer. Statistics show one in eight women will be diagnosed.
This month, for your convenience, Georgia Health Sciences Medical Center is offering mammograms on the new machine every Saturday.
You can schedule a screening anytime by calling 706-721-XRAY or (706) 721-9729.