Dr. Ainel (Boonprakong) Sewell, MD
Diagnostic Radiology
Brevard Physician Associates

We are witnessing a period in history where medicine is advancing almost as fast as mobile phone technology. Though sometimes particular cures seem to come far too slow, contemporary breakthroughs and applications are astounding.

Over ten years ago researchers announced they had mapped the human genome or all the genes that make up our DNA, which has been dubbed “the book of life.” Research may soon produce stem cells that can repair damaged tissue and organs. Bionic limbs and even face transplants have produced transformative results. On the practical side, children and parents can have a face-to-face visit with a pediatrician over the Internet and soon our phones will not only be our mobile communications devices, they will help monitor and even diagnosis illnesses. As one physician told me, “Soon you’ll be out jogging and the ambulance will pull up next to you and say, ‘We just received a signal that you are about to have a heart attack.’” One of these amazing new technologies is in 3D Mammography.

It is unlikely you could find someone who personally or relationally hasn’t been impacted by breast cancer. It strikes about one in eight U.S. women (nearly 12 percent) and has claimed the lives of nearly 40,000 women a year, second only to lung cancer. The good news is that the mortality rate for breast cancer has been decreasing since 1989, with the largest decreases in women under 50.

These declines are thought to be the result of treatment advances, increased awareness and perhaps most importantly, through screenings that provide early and accurate diagnosis. One of the most promising new diagnostic technologies is now available at Health First Diagnostic Centers with the county’s first 3D mammography screening. 3D mammography, or breast tomosynthesis, screening technology has been shown to find significantly more invasive cancers than a traditional 2D mammogram; in fact TIME magazine selected 3D mammography as one of the “Top 11 health advances of 2014.”

According to Dr. Ainel Sewell, the results are astounding. “It can detect 41 percent more invasive breast cancers and reduces false positives by up to 40 percent. In addition, it reduces overall callback rates from screenings by 30 percent, meaning women at high risk or with dense breast tissue will see better results from their screening mammogram and be less likely to be called back for diagnostic mammogram with ultrasound.”

Dr. Sewell explains the attraction and ongoing challenge of radiology, “I was drawn to radiology because it offered such diversity, from diagnosis to actual procedures. The radiologists were like a doctor’s doctor; they were almost like consultants to physicians. In addition, the breakthroughs and new emerging technologies in breast imaging and interventional radiology are incredible.”