3D Mammography Leads to Cancer Diagnosis in Hospital President

Decision to Pilot Tomosynthesis for Sentara Cancer Network Proves Pivotal in Diagnosis

HAMPTON, VA--(Marketwired - Sep 30, 2014) -


  • Sentara Cancer Network has installed 10 Tomosynthesis (3D Mammography) machines in Virginia.
  • Debra Flores, president, Sentara CarePlex Hospital, purchased first machine for system pilot. Machine later identified her 'Stage '0' tumor.
  • Sentara Cancer Network is developing a study on 3D versus 2D patients.

Debra Flores, president of Sentara CarePlex Hospital, was three months late for her annual mammogram when she drove to the Dorothy G. Hoefer Comprehensive Breast Center for her scan. Months earlier, Flores had found money in her hospital's budget to purchase the first 3D mammography device, also known as Tomosynthesis, to pilot the new technology for the Sentara Cancer Network. That afternoon, radiologist Kelley Allison, MD, saw cancer in both of Debra's breasts, including a tiny Stage '0' tumor.

"Without 3D mammography, that second tumor might have been missed," said Flores. "In retrospect, my decision to purchase Sentara's first 3D mammography device was providential."

After consulting with Sentara surgeon Richard Hoefer, MD, Flores elected to have lumpectomy performed on both breasts and Dr. Hoefer prescribed six and a half weeks of daily radiation. Flores is now cancer free and committed to fulfilling a personal mission to encourage women to take responsibility for their bodies and demand 3D mammography knowing firsthand the critical importance of earlier detection.

"This technology is a game changer," Flores said. "Women need to take advantage of it."

Clinical data suggests that 3D mammography identifies smaller tumors at earlier stages than traditional digital mammography and reduces callbacks for biopsies, due to its ability to differentiate between benign masses and cancerous tumors, even in dense breast tissue. In a Sentara Cancer Network study of 1,400 breast cancers diagnosed through the use of 3D technology, the following success metrics were revealed:

  • 53% increase in diagnosis of invasive cancers
  • 35% increase in diagnosis of cancers
  • 38% reduction in call backs
  • 11% reduction in biopsies

"Sentara's organizational structure and culture of innovation were essential for implementing this technology at eight sites across Virginia in less than one year," said Kelley Allison, MD, a fellowship-trained radiologist and co-chair of the Breast Program Leadership Committee of the Sentara Cancer Network. "I am proud that our committee led the way in evaluating and adopting this invaluable 3D mammography service for patients."

The Sentara Cancer Network performed almost 115,000 mammograms last year and diagnosed close to 1,400 breast cancers. Currently, Sentara Cancer Network is designing a 3D mammography study to assess the impact of 3D versus 2D mammography, the current standard of care, on breast health and clinical outcomes.

About Sentara Healthcare
Sentara Healthcare celebrates a 125-year history of innovation, compassion and community benefit. Based in Norfolk, VA, Sentara is a diverse not-for-profit family of 12 hospitals, the Optima Health Plan, an array of integrated services and a team 28,000 strong on a mission to improve health every day. This mandate is pursued through a disciplined strategy to achieve Top 10% performance in key measures through shared best practices, transformation of primary care through clinical integration and strategic growth that adds value to the communities we serve in Virginia and North Carolina. www.sentara.com 

About the Sentara Cancer Network
As one of the largest accredited networks in the nation, the Sentara Cancer Network leads by creating a challenging and progressive environment for physicians, nurses and clinical leaders. By constantly challenging ourselves to exceed national benchmarks, we are improving our skill and culture of excellence. The network is accredited by the American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer. www.sentara.com/cancer 

To view this release in a media-rich format, go to: http://sentara.new-media-release.com/3Dmammography/

Contact Information:


Dale Gauding
Communications Advisor
24-hour media pager:757.671.4971