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Latest cancer detection tool only available at one El Paso clinic

By: Gina Benitez
EL PASO, Texas -- El Pasoan Donna Pieplow is no stranger to mammograms

.But initially, the thought of trying a brand new machine put her on edge.

"I was a little apprehensive as I hadn't had it done before and as with any new thing, I guess you're a little bit apprehensive," Pieplow said.

Sierra Providence Total Care Imaging-West is the only place in El Paso that offers 3D mammography.

The machine is the newest early cancer detection tool.

"The differences beteween this and the 2D is with the 3D, the tube moves in an angle. What it's doing is taking images of the breast at different levels throughout the whole breast," said Melanie Peterson, a mammography technologist.

A recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that there is a 29 percent increase in detection of breast cancer when a 3D mammogram was done instead of a 2D scan.

The study also found the new technology reduces false positives by 15 percent.

"The couple of times I got callbacks to redo, it was very scary. And this time, they could see right away...that I did not have any kind of cancer," Pieplow said.

Peterson said along with the benefits, the machine has also been a big hit.

"A lot of patients like it. They do say that it feels like there's less compression. We do still use the same amount of compression but I guess since it's the newest technology, they feel a little bit more at ease with it," Peterson said.

"There's nothing to be afraid of, it took a little bit longer to do but it was just about the same procedure, just the machine that was different and maybe a couple of different positions," Pieplow said.