Cypress Imaging is now offering 3-D mammography services at three of its Wichita locations.
John Lohnes, president of Wichita Radiological Group, which owns Cypress, said Friday that the new type of screening has shown to have the potential for earlier detection of instances of breast cancer in patients. Lohnes, who is also a medical doctor, said hundreds of patients have received the service since Cypress began using it in early July.
“With a standard mammogram, the views that we had were kind of a summation of all the breast tissue,” Lohnes said. “With this newer test, known as tomosynthesis, it allows us to look at individual slices of the breast tissue, which gives us a better opportunity to pick up on cancer earlier.”
Similar to the more traditional type of mammogram, the newer 3-D, or tomosynthesis, version is able to move around the breast while taking X-rays at multiple angles.
The first tomosynthesis machines were approved in the U.S. in 2011 while the versions used by Cypress were cleared in April, according to Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman Angela Stark. The FDA requires that it signs off on each individual tomosynthesis unit before it can be used.
Cypress medical director John Knudtson said he and his team in Wichita had been waiting for several years for the technology to be licensed in the U.S. Lohnes said the cost to upgrade Cypress’ systems – it already had compatible General Electric machines – came to about $1 million.
“We’ve been planning for this for a long time,” Lohnes said. “The biggest problem is that the insurance companies aren’t covering it, but we hope that will change soon. We offer tomosynthesis to everyone at an additional cost of $60.”
Wichita Radiological Group director of business development Debi Johnson said Medicare does cover the screening, adding that Cypress has been averaging about 300 patient visits per week for the 3-D test since rolling it out. Johnson said Cypress is the only provider in Wichita that currently offers the 3-D screenings.
Cypress technology specialist Ellen Newsom said the 3-D version does not expose patients to a larger dose of radiation than a regular digital mammogram.
“We get asked about that a lot,” Newsom said. “The patient receives a lower dosage of radiation during each imaging scan, so the amount of radiation is the same. It’s an important distinction.”
Johnson said Cypress is offering the screening at three of its offices in the Wichita area, including locations at 9300 E. 29th St. North, 3232 E. Murdock and 2131 N. Ridge Road.
For more information, call Johnson at 316-685-1367 or visit the Wichita Radiological Group’s website at wichitarad.com.