The BVI Health Services Authority is offering a new service that officials said can help detect breast cancer early.

A 3D mammogram, also known as a breast tomosynthesis, is an “advanced form of breast imaging that uses a low-dose x-ray system and computer reconstructions to create three-dimensional images of the breast,” according to the BVIHSA.

Radiologist Dr. Aasha-Marie Flax-Miller said the BVIHSA’s 3D mammography unit, which is the only one in the territory, should help increase the rate of cancer detection.

“Tomosynthesis enables us to see subtle architectural distortions and masses,” she ex- plained. “It also gives us the ability to see calcifications that are in the breast and determine if they are benign or require further testing.”

She added that women between the ages of 40 and 44 have the option of annual screening. Women between 45 and 54 are advised to have annual screenings, while women over the age of 55 should have screenings done every two years, according to the radiologist.

Patients at a higher risk for cancer, she added, should have a discussion with their primary physician.

Dr. Flax-Miller said that breast cancer is the leading cancer in women.

“The cancer rates here in the BVI are high,” she said. “It is heart breaking. Early diagnosis is key. If we can get you at stage one then that is best.”

Women should not wait until they feel a lump before getting screened, she said.

“Previous imaging is really important,” she explained. “It will be useful to look back at previous imaging to see if a mass was there before, if it’s worsening, and to look at the natural changes occurring in the breast. Previous imaging is a radiologist’s best friend.”

The Radiology Department is located on the third floor of the new hospital. Call 852-7727 or email for information.