At Orange County center, new breast cancer screening could catch previously hidden cancer

An Orange County breast care center is the first in California to offer a new kind of mammogram. Technicians say the new technology can help uncover breast cancers that might remain hidden in other screenings.

The technology involves 3D imaging that doctors say will greatly improve cancer detection in women with dense breast tissue. Dr. Gary Levine directs Newport Beach’s Hoag Breast Care Center, and says when it comes to mammograms, it's not one size fits all.

"The problem is that there is a subset of women with what are called mammographically dense breasts in whom traditional screening mammography is not all that effective. The dense breast tissue effectively hides the cancer and we can miss cancer in women with this kind of breast tissue," he said.

Traditional 2D mammograms view dense breast tissue the same way they do cancer. The federal Food and Drug Administration approved the new screening technology in February. Currently the new service is only available at Hoag’s Newport Beach office; later this year, the hospital’s Irvine breast care center will also offer 3D screenings.