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3-D Mammography comes to San Luis Valley

Members of the SLV Health Foundation Board of Directors stand next to the new 3-D mammography unit and the SLV Health Women’s Imaging staff at the Stephanie L. Miner Women’s Imaging Center, from left: Directors Jeff Motz, Rosalie Martinez and Jacki Kennedy; Treasurer Duane Bussey and Secretary Mary Motz; Imaging Supervisor Robyn Williams and Mammography Technologist Barbara Carlsen, Dr. Matt Lowery and Imaging Services Director Janet McGinnis.

San Luis Valley Health Foundation recently donated $100,000, and pledged the foundation’s continued fundraising support, towards the new 3-D mammography unit in the Stephanie L. Miner Imaging Center in the Regional Medical Center in Alamosa.

The mammography unit, estimated to cost approximately $365,000, will allow residents of the San Luis Valley the ability to receive both 2-D and 3-D mammography images without having to leave the valley.

“It’s a great step forward to detect breast cancer for the women of the valley,” said Dr. Matt Lowery, RIC radiologist for the hospital.

According to the manufacturing company Hologic, “Compared to standard 2-D digital mammography, 3-D detects more breast cancers, earlier detection of breast cancer, resulting in reduced false positives and callbacks by 40%, and less anxiety.”

The technology allows for better visualization of abnormalities and normal tissue, especially dense tissue, and since it’s installation in March has received an overwhelming amount of positive response from the community.

“So far, about 90% of the patients are choosing the 3-D imaging,” said Imaging Services Director Janet McGinnis. “I think this is a great benefit for the valley.”

The foundation board voted unanimously to offer financial support for the installation and continued upkeep of the mammography unit, which is located in the Stephanie L. Miner Women’s Imaging Center.

“It just means so much to my whole family to be able to help bring this technology here,” said Mary Motz, mother of Stephanie L. Miner. “As a foundation board member, I’m honored to be a part of this project.”

An upcoming walk-in breast screening event called Muffins & Mammos, will take place from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 4 at the imaging center, located in the SLV Health Regional Medical Center, 106 Blanca Ave. in Alamosa.

Not all insurance companies cover tomosynthesis (3D) mammography, so prior to scheduling an appointment, it is recommended to check with the insurance company. Patients may opt to pay the difference in costs out of pocket.

Questions should be directed to 719-587-1231.