Natividad Medical Center Adds New Equipment Effective October 12th That Will Dramatically Increase The Ability to Detect Breast Cancer in Women at an Early Stage

  • October 5, 2015

SALINAS, CA (October 5, 2015) — With the recent acquisition of a state-of-the-art 3D digital mammography system, Natividad Medical Center has dramatically increased its ability to detect breast cancer in women at an early stage. It is the only state-of-the-art 3D digital mammography system in Monterey County!

The Hologic Selenia Dimensions with AWS 8000 system, the first commercially available system to make use of the breakthrough technology of digital 3D mammography or breast tomosynthesis, was installed Aug. 21 in the Radiology Department at Natividad.

Approved as an imaging tool by the Federal Drug Administration in 2011, the new 3D system, which is often used in combination with traditional 2D mammography, offers hospitals a more efficient method to detect breast cancer at an early stage. A recent study of 25,000 women reported a 47% increase in cancer detection when tomosynthesis was used.

“We are beyond excited to get this advanced technology here at Natividad Medical Center,” said Heidi Riggenbach, Natividad Radiology Manager. “It not only gives us a more-efficient tool to detect cancer earlier, but it will give our patients peace of mind due to greater clarity and accuracy of the equipment. It will also decrease the number of callbacks, which will spare women the anxiety, inconvenience and expense of coming back to the hospital for further imaging.”
In a bit of serendipitous news, the new 3D imaging system will be up and running in October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The first patient using the 2D capabilities will be seen on Sept. 9.
Breast cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in women, affecting one out of every eight women in the U.S. Screening exams are used to identify breast abnormalities as early as possible, which leads to early cancer detection and provides patients with more treatment options and a better chance for survival. Women whose breast cancer is detected at an early stage have a 93 percent or more survival rate in the first five years.

Traditional 2D digital mammography takes images of the breasts in two dimensions and has been one of the most advanced tools in detecting breast abnormalities. In 3D mammography, the scanner moves in an arc over the breasts, taking multiple images from various angles. The images are displayed as a series of layers or thin slices, which can be viewed by radiologists one layer at a time, as a whole or in an interactive animation.

This improves doctors’ ability to spot small abnormalities or tumors that are hidden by overlapping tissue and that may not be visible on standard mammograms. The greater sensitivity will also reduce false alarms and callbacks.

Studies in Europe and the U.S. have shown that combining 3D mammography with conventional 2D mammography can result in a 10 to 30% increase in overall breast cancer detection over 2D imaging alone.

In 2013 the Cleveland Clinic picked breast tomosynthesis as one of its Top 10 Medical Innovations for 2013, while Time magazine picked 3D Mammography as one of its Top 100 New Scientific Discoveries.
The Selenia Dimensions system is manufactured by Hologic, Inc., of Danbury, Connecticut. More than half of the U.S. News and World Report’s top 20 cancer hospitals offer Hologic 3D mammography systems. More than five million women to date in the U.S. have already been screened with this life-changing technology, which is now available in 50 states and in over 50 countries.
Background on Natividad Medical Center (NMC)
Owned and operated by Monterey County, NMC is a 172-bed, acute-care hospital providing health care services to county residents for more than 129 years. Based in Salinas, California, NMC offers inpatient, outpatient, emergency, diagnostic and specialty medical care. NMC provides more than 34,000 patient days of care each year and has more than 52,000 emergency department visits per year. NMC is a Level II Trauma Center providing the immediate availability of specialized personnel, equipment and services to treat the most severe and critical injuries. NMC’s Trauma Center is a vital community service locally that saves lives and eliminates the need to fly critically injured patients to a distant trauma center. NMC is ranked No. 1 in newborn deliveries in Monterey County and is the only teaching hospital on the Central Coast through its affiliation with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). With a medical staff of more than 300 physicians, NMC’s mission is to continually monitor and improve the health of the people, including the vulnerable, in Monterey County through coordinated, affordable high-quality health care. For more information, please call 831-755-4111 or visit