New breast cancer technology saving lives at Austin hospital

A radiologist compares an image from earlier, 2-D technology mammogram to the new 3-D Digital Breast Tomosynthesis mammography in Wichita Falls, Texas. The technology can detect much smaller cancers earlier. In guidelines published Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015, the American Cancer Society revised its advice on who should get mammograms and when, recommending annual screenings for women at age 45 instead of 40 and switching to every other year at age 55. The advice is for women at average risk for breast cancer. Doctors generally recommend more intensive screening for higher-risk women. (Torin Halsey/Times Record News via AP)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One local hospital wants you to know about a new technology that could save the lives of women with dense breasts.

Dr. Debra Patt from the Seton Breast Care Center joins us in the KXAN studio.

Dense breasts can be defined as having more fibrous or glandular tissue and less fat. Breast density is seen only on mammograms. Some women think that because their breasts are firm they are dense, but density is not related to size or firmness.

Dr. Patt says tumors are harder to detect in dense breasts. “Breast scans for tumors are more difficult to read if the patient has dense breasts. It’s like trying to see a marble in a glass of milk,” said Dr. Patt.

The new technology can detect breast cancer early, which will increase the chances of survival and options for treatment.

Visit their website for more information and how to prepare for a mammogram. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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