Mammograms are a key tool in detecting breast cancer, but the imaging isn't adequate in every situation.

Tennova recently added a 3D mammogram machine at two of it's locations, Physicians Regional Medical Center and the north Knoxville location.

Dr. Donna Culhane, a radiologist who uses the machine, says the end result is an increase in cancer detection.

A typical mammogram produces two images of each breast, but with the new technology the number of images increases to more than 120.

"As you can imagine, when there are thinner slices to look through I have a better chance at finding a much smaller cancer sooner than I would if I was only looking at two pictures," said Dr. Culhane.

The new machine looks similar to what most women are used to seeing when they get their yearly mammogram, but Dr. Culhane says there are a few differences patients might notice.

"It may take a little bit longer to get the mammogram, a few more seconds of compression to the breast. And also the machine itself will move in an arc when it's acquiring all those extra pictures," said Dr. Culhane.

Dr. Culhane says the earlier a breast cancer is found, the more treatable it is.

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