Keeping A-Breast with New Technology

Guest Post by Mark D. Akin, MD

Photo of Doctor AkinDo yourself, your family, and friends a favor by staying up to date with the latest scientific developments!  After all, breast cancer frequently affects healthy women in the prime of their life when they have families to raise, businesses to maintain, and a life to enjoy. It is insidious, grows slowly, is initially painless, and can be difficult to diagnose. Without technology to make a diagnosis, it can exist for years and spread throughout your body long before it is ever recognized. Once it has spread outside your breast, curing the cancer is very difficult.

Traditional breast screening has primarily been the use of annual mammograms, which has proven to be very useful in the diagnosis of breast cancer before it spreads. However, interpretation of the 2-D mammography can be difficult, especially in women with large or dense breasts. In order to find as many cancers as possible, some women end up being called back for additional views or biopsies, only to find out that there is no cancer in their breast. This is known as a false positive mammogram, of which there is an alarmingly high rate of probability.

The good news is that newer technology, covered by most insurance companies, is now available and has the ability to reduce false positive results by 40%, and increases the true diagnosis of breast cancer. Three Dimensional Mammography, commonly known as a 3-D mammo, uses a similar amount of radiation exposure as a standard 2-D mammo (both have a radiation exposure roughly equal to what a passenger on a jet from Austin to Denver would experience), but instead of capturing only two images of each breast, 3-D mammography provides over 30 images of each breast area!  The procedure also takes about the same amount of time, but with multiple images of your breasts in so many different angles it’s hard for breast cancer to hide. Additionally, 3-D mammography combined with a Whole Breast Ultrasound, such as TRACTUS, is optimal for dense breasts. This technology is painless and adds only seven minutes to your visit.

There are many other advances in women’s health, such as genetic BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 testing for those with hereditary risk profiles; DYSIS, color colposcopy for improved detection of HPV (Human Papillomavirus) which currently affects 79,000,000 Americans; CONSORTIA, pelvic floor therapy for the treatment of urinary incontinence and other urinary bladder conditions commonly experienced after child birth or at menopause; and MONA LISA, laser therapy for improved vaginal health for women who are pre-menopausal or hormone therapy adverse.

Let’s maximize technology to further reduce breast cancer and improve women’s health!

Mark D. Akin, MD
President, Austin Area OB GYN

About the author:
Mark Akin, MD, is a private practice Obstetrician/Gynecologist who has been taking care of women in Central Texas for the past 34 years. He is an engineer by training, with a Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering with highest honors (Summa Cum Laude). Dr. Akin attended Medical School at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, with honors (Alpha Omega Alpha), and residency and fellowship in Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas where he was chosen as The Outstanding Resident by Texas Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Dr. Akin is also the Medical Director of the American College of Radiology accredited Breast Imaging Center in the Austin Area OB GYN office. For more information, please visit