Doctors at the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority have carried out a new minimally invasive mammographic procedure that improves the early detection of breast cancer at the Cayman Islands Hospital.

The procedure, known as 3-D Stereotactic Vacuum Assisted Breast Biopsy, is potentially life-saving and has already been used to identify cancerous cells in their early stages in the breast of a patient of the hospital, resulting in her early treatment, according to a press release from the HSA.

The release described the experience of patient Denise Montieth, who was advised to undergo a breast biopsy after a screening mammogram showed an abnormality in one of her breasts.

“When a breast lump or abnormality is detected, it is not always possible to tell from the imaging test whether a growth is benign or cancerous. To determine this, a breast biopsy is performed to remove some cells from the suspicious area of the breast for further evaluation,” the HSA stated.

With the hospital’s new biopsy technique, the cells are removed using a needle attached to the 3-D mammogram machine and a vacuum device.

“The procedure is less invasive than surgical biopsy, leaves little or no scarring and the results are as accurate as when a tissue sample is removed surgically in the operating theater,” according to the release.

The test results for Mrs. Montieth, who was the first patient to experience the procedure at the hospital, confirmed the abnormality in her breast was cancerous.

“Although finding out I had cancerous cells in their early stages was frightening, the Cayman Islands Hospital’s radiology staff was fabulous and I am so fortunate they were able to quickly detect and remove these cells, thanks to this new procedure. It is comforting to know that such an important, potentially life-saving service is available on our islands,” Mrs. Montieth said in the release.