Castle Rock Adventist Hospital's Mammography Department. May 13, 2015. Photo by Ellen Jaskol.

Until now, doctors at Castle Rock Adventist Hospital have only had the ability to view breasts during routine mammograms in two dimensions. Starting next week, because of the introduction of new technology, they will now be able to see them in 3D.

Approved by the FDA in 2012, Tomosythesis a.k.a. 3D breast imaging, has been helping hospitals across the nation take a closer look at breast tissue for earlier detection of cancer. “Think of picking up a book and looking at it in 2D,” commented Jinnah Phillips, M.D., Women’s Imaging Specialist at Castle Rock Adventist Hospital. “With 3D, the image is very different. It gives us the ability to now flip through the pages.”

Dr.  Jinnah Phillips,  Women's Imaging Specialist at Castle Rock Adventist Hospital
Dr. Jinnah Phillips, Women’s Imaging Specialist at Castle Rock Adventist Hospital

Because the technology can peel back the layers of more dense breast tissue, it increases diagnostic confidence for those on both sides of the machine. “There have now been multiple studies in medical literature showing 3D imaging improving cancer detection up to 40 percent in basic breast cancer screenings,” Dr. Phillips said. And earlier detection, when cancer is concerned, often saves a life.

Likewise, because this type of 3D imaging produces pictures that lend doctors a more detailed look at what is happening within the tissue, dreaded call backs can be avoided. Routine screening many times means a patient will receive a call to further examine a suspicious mass, thus causing anxiety for many women. However, with a 3D mammography, doctors can frequently skip needing additional imaging and radiation and just go straight to having the client make an appointment for an ultrasound.

Along with being the first hospital in the area to have the 3D technology, Castle Rock Adventist has gone a step further to take some of the anxiety out of getting a mammogram by installing a ‘Sensory Suite.’ “We asked ourselves: How can we can make the experience of the mammogram better?” After partnering with a generous doner, Aloha Trust, they were able to fund the design of a series of rooms – for changing and examinations – that make clients feel like they have stepped into their favorite spa.

Castle Rock Adventist Hospital's Mammography Department.  May 13, 2015.  Photo by Ellen Jaskol.
Castle Rock Adventist Hospital’s Mammography Department. May 13, 2015. Photo by Ellen Jaskol.

From the changing area to the sensory suite itself, attention to detail has been paid to soften the stereotype of the sterile hospital environment. The experience begins with the client changing into a heated robe, then they are given access to an iPad to select sounds and pictures that will set the scene for their 10-15 minute mammography. “Our Sensory Suite has two LED monitors that read the clients selection of either a garden, ocean or mountain and waterfall scene – all while playing calming sounds; we also offer aromatherapy,” Dr. Phillips smiled.

Because the more relaxed the client feels the better chance of reading what is or isn’t present in the tissue. “Mammograms are physically and mentally uncomfortable. Sometimes we have to pull and push breast tissue to get the right images – if we can get someone to relax, we are successful at getting the full picture,” Dr. Phillips said. “The best imaging we can get is the best chance of finding a cancer.”

This Thursday, June 4, from 7:30 am – 9 am, Castle Rock Adventist Hospital will be holding the official pink ribbon cutting ceremony for the hospital upgrade. The ceremony will be led by the first lady of Castle Rock, Jen Donahue. Area residents are encouraged to attend so they can experience the new Sensory Suite and find out more about how the innovative 3D technology is being used to detect early breast cancer.

A light breakfast will be served by Manna Restaurant. For more information and to RSVP, click here:

Castle Rock Adventist Hospital
The Breast Care Center
2350 Meadows Blvd.
Castle Rock, CO 80109