For the first time Illawarra women will be able to have a 3D mammogram without leaving the region.
A $300,000 3D digital mammography unit has been in operation at a new Wollongong radiology practice, Women's Imaging Suite, for only three weeks but it has already been used to provide a highly accurate assessment for 40 women.
Senior radiographer Meagan Boskovski said the machine greatly reduced the chance of misdiagnosis and was one of just five in service across the state, and one of 10 across Australia.
"In opening a brand new female-specific imaging centre in the Illawarra, we wanted to equip it with the most up-to-the-minute technology available," she said.
"This machine provides the best chance of early detection of breast cancer currently available, and that early detection is so vital."
Ms Boskovski said patients referred to the Crown St practice would get a conventional and a 3D mammogram, in one.
"It does a conventional mammogram and at the same time does a tomosynthesis sweep, which means it sweeps across the chest in an arc taking up to 80 images," she said.
"It then reconstructs these images into a three-dimensional picture which gives much greater detail than in a conventional mammogram.
"That's because in a conventional mammogram the glandular tissue - where most breast cancer will be hidden - can only be viewed lying on top of each other.
"In the 3D mammogram the glandular tissue is separated out, allowing the radiographer to see in, around and through it."
Women's Imaging Suite, which was officially opened by Wollongong MP Noreen Hay on Friday, provides a medical imaging service just for women.