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Published on March 01, 2021

Saving a Life from Breast Cancer Through Preventative Care

woman smiling in greenery

Carol Tranfaglia was a big believer in preventive care – even before it saved her life.

Every year since turning 40, Carol would get her annual screening mammogram at the EvergreenHealth Breast Health Center.

When that exam was done on the center's brand-new 3-D mammography unit – it detected a very aggressive form of breast cancer in its earliest, most treatable stage.

"I work at a biotech company involved in cancer research," Carol says, "but the word ‘cancer' had never been applied to me. It took my breath away."

Suddenly, Carol had another job – fighting for her life.

"The funny thing is, I never really thought my life was threatened," she recalls. "Once I got all of the information, I really understood the value of 3-D mammography – it caught my cancer early."

Early Detection = Better Chance For Survival

Early detection significantly increases your chance of survival if you have cancer, which is why EvergreenHealth felt it was important to add the 3-D mammography to our diagnostic arsenal.

The scan is no different for the patient from the usual 2-D mammogram, but it results in an image that's more like a CT scan and that allows radiologists to view the breast in 1-millimeter "slices."

It's this detail that can reveal cancers that may not be seen on 2-D mammograms.

The technology is already paying big dividends for EvergreenHealth patients. Early on, the 3-D units found more than 100 cancers that would have not been found using the standard units.

The center also saw a 31% drop in recall rates because the 3-D images are so precise.

In fact, because of EvergreenHealth's advanced methods and technology, 70% of cancer patients are diagnosed in the early stages, compared to just over half nationally.
With the success of our first 3-D mammography unit, the Breast Health Center has added more 3-D units, including one in the mobile mammography coach.

Information ... Treatment ... Support

But when it comes to treating breast cancer, advanced diagnostic technology is just one important part of the equation.

From the moment of her diagnosis, Carol Tranfaglia had dozens of questions about what would happen next … and the staff at EvergreenHealth was there to help her.

"They took care of setting up all of my appointments, and made sure I was informed and supported every step of the way," Carol recalls. "That level of care and compassion made a world of difference to me and to my husband. It really helped the healing process and made me feel like I was going to be whole again."

Because the 3-D mammography caught her cancer early, before it spread to her lymph nodes, Carol did not need chemotherapy.

"I had a lumpectomy and seven weeks of radiation therapy, which is not insignificant, of course," she says, "but not having to go through chemotherapy, for me, made a big difference."

For that, Carol is grateful to EvergreenHealth's ever-advancing technology and hopes others who read her story will take advantage of it.

"We're so fortunate that EvergreenHealth has this lifesaving technology available," she stresses. "It can make a big difference."

For More Information About 3-D Mammography

You can make a mammography appointment by calling 425.899.2831.

Learn more about 3-D mammography at EvergreenHealth

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