St. Peter’s Health Introduces 3D Mammography Machine

January 18, 2019

St. Peter’s Health announces the availability of a 3D mammography machine, the 3Dimensions Mammography System. The new technology will help the St. Peter’s Health deliver a higher state of care by providing enhanced images to help detect breast cancer when it is in the earliest, most treatable stages. The purchase of the machine was made possible thanks to generous contributions from community members and local businesses to the St. Peter’s Health Foundation. 

The 3D mammography machine produces more comprehensive images of the breast tissue. According to St. Peter’s Health Radiologist Dr. James Tarver, “3D Mammography will improve our ability to better detect dangerous cancers, and at the same time reduces the likelihood of further testing for suspicious findings that turn out not to be cancer.” 

Dense breast tissue can make breast cancer screening more difficult, and is common in women under the age of 50. 3D mammography technology can better identify the abnormalities in the denser tissue. Pam Sasser, RN is the St. Peter's Health Breast Cancer Nurse Navigator and is responsible for working with breast cancer patients one-on-one, helping them navigate the health care system. “Nationwide, 11 percent of breast cancer diagnoses are under the age of 45. Locally, 19 percent of the population that I navigate is under the age of 50,” said Sasser. 

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women in the United States with one in eight women diagnosed with breast cancer sometime in their life. The American Cancer Society recommends that women starting at the age of 40 receive an annual mammogram. 

Mammograms can save lives, something Lead St. Peter’s Health Mammography Tech Judy Owens sees frequently in her work. Owens has been in mammography for over forty years, “we have very experienced and caring staff who strive to give our patients the best possible experience.”

All women, regardless of age, should complete regular self-exams to detect tissue abnormalities and follow up immediately with their physician if they have any concerns. 

St. Peter’s Health

St. Peter’s Health is a system of services including a 99-bed acute care hospital, physician clinics, cancer treatment center, 24-bed behavioral health unit, urgent care clinics, home health and hospice car dialysis center and ambulance services. St. Peter’s Health serves the Helena region and southwest Montana counties of Lewis and Clark, Broadwater, Jefferson, Meagher and Powell, with a combined population of approximately 97,000 residents. The mission of St. Peter’s Health is to partner with patients and the community to provide exceptional and compassionate health care. For more information, visit