New Technology to Save Lives

December 10, 2012
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breast-cancerSo that all women in Claremont and neighboring areas have access to the most advanced mammography technology available for the early detection of breast cancer, Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center (PVHMC) has opened the area’s first 3-D breast imaging technology, called tomosynthesis, at the hospital’s Claremont facility.

The second of four 3-D imaging machines has been installed at the Pomona Valley Health Center, 1601 Monte Vista Ave., Claremont, and has been approved by federal and state health care officials for patient use.  The hospital’s first 3-D unit opened in October in Chino Hills.  The remaining two units will in placed in the Breast Health Center within The Robert and Beverly Lewis Family Cancer Care Center.  They are scheduled to be operational by mid-December.

When all four 3-D units are operational by the end of the year, Pomona Valley Hospital will be the largest facility in southern California to exclusively offer this technology.

“‘Every woman, every time’ is our pledge to the community with the purchase of this revolutionary screening technology,” said Richard E. Yochum, president/CEO of Pomona Valley Hospital.  “Its advantages are so superior that by year’s end every one of our patients scheduling a mammogram will receive it.  With this technology now approved by the FDA, offering women standard mammography is simply not enough in the battle against breast cancer.”

The 3-D digital mammography, known as tomosynthesis, was approved by the FDA last year and is considered the most advanced breakthrough in the early detection of breast cancer, which strikes one out of seven women in the United States.

“Traditional mammography is a good tool but it misses about 20 percent of all breast cancers,” said Johnson Lightfoote, M.D., medical director of Radiology at PVHMC.  “Moreover, standard mammography produces many false-positive readings, which puts undue stress on women as they have to endure more mammography or other testing procedures.  Tomosynthesis provides an entirely new imaging platform which is more accurate than anything we’ve ever used,” he said.

Dr. Lightfoote said that standard mammography captures two angles of the breast.  The 3-D digital unit takes 11 different angles or more (in only about four seconds) and uses less compression, which is more comfortable for patients.  “Not only is it far superior in terms of the image, it’s also a kinder, gentler mammography experience for women,” he stressed.

Dr. Lightfoote added that for women with dense breast tissue, which can sometimes be hard to image with standard mammography, 3-D imaging exceeds anything he’s ever seen.  “It sections the images of the breast very fine so we can see every detail and subtle feature. It’s going to revolutionize mammography screening and, more importantly, it’s going to save lives,” he said.

“Thanks to the overwhelming support of our community we were able to purchase this technology,” said Yochum.  He said that once it was announced that the hospital wanted to upgrade its breast cancer screening technology with the 3-D units, donations from residents, foundations and businesses enabled the hospital’s Foundation to purchase the technology.  “It shows that breast cancer, unfortunately, touches so many lives that many were willing to contribute to make sure we have the best there is for our residents.”

For more information on 3-D imaging or to schedule an appointment, please call 909-630-7980 or visit

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