Northwest Georgia Medical Clinic

Solar panels on top of the Northwest Georgia Medical Clinic, 15 Riverbend Drive.

Physicians at the Northwest Georgia Medical Clinic are marking Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October with the addition of new 3D mammography services at the clinic.

Mammography Program Coordinator Eddie Rivers said the 3D mammography is both less painful to the patient and more accurate than the other two-dimensional units.

“In 3D, if you take a loaf of bread and pull out slices you can see better. A 2D image would show you the entire loaf of bread,” Rivers said. “On a 3D image you can see individual slices of bread, so you can see how it would give you a better view of the entire breast.”

The technology allows a radiologist to identify and characterize individual structures in the breast without any confusion from overlapping tissue. The slices, or images produced by the unit are one millimeter in thickness

Rivers said the unit is located in the same building with Dr. James H. Vick III and Dr. James T. Douglas, but the clinic can do the procedure for any licensed physician in the community.

“We’re really an independent mammography site,” Rivers said.

The new 3D mammography unit represents a sizable investment at the clinic.

Rivers said the physicians at the clinic on Riverbend Drive have been seeking to make it more convenient for patients.

“If their coming to see one of the doctors in this building for their yearly check up they can get their mammography done at the same time so it saves the ladies from taking an extra day off of work, or making an extra trip to the office,” Rivers said.

The 3D technology can reduce the callback rate and repeat imaging by as much as 40%, he said. They also hope the less painful technology will help encourage women in the region to get screened at an earlier stage.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women, trailing only lung cancer, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

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