Dr. Steven Charney is an interventional radiologist specializing in breast imaging on staff at Banner Boswell Medical Center. Scheduling for his office can be reached at (480) 684-7500.
Question: My doctor mentioned to me that 3D mammograms are now available for breast cancer screening. How do 3D mammograms differ from traditional mammograms and what are the benefits?
Answer: Aside from skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women. In fact, every year approximately 200,000 American women are diagnosed with breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. The best defense we have against breast cancer is early detection, and 3D mammography is a revolutionary new tool to help us in this fight.
In 2011, 3D mammography, or tomosynthesis, was approved by the FDA for use in the US. Instead of having just 2 views of the breast from conventional 2D mammograms, 3D mammograms allow radiologists to look inside the breast, and from multiple perspectives. Just like CT scans, 3D mammograms reveal images of the breast in multiple layers, or slices, providing doctors with more detailed and accurate views of the breast. Ultimately, more accurate images of the breast lead to more accurate detection of breast disease.
A study published earlier this year in the journal Radiology found that 3D mammograms demonstrated a 40% increase in diagnosis of early cancers – and the earlier breast cancer is detected, the greater the survival rate. Additionally, the same study found a significant decrease in the number of false positives, when compared to 2D mammograms. Reducing false positives can alleviate anxiety in patients, as well as decrease unnecessary tests and procedures.
What’s more, 3D C-View mammograms decrease radiation exposure. In the past, patients would receive a 3D mammogram and a conventional digital mammogram at the same time, essentially doubling exposure to radiation. Now, however, advances in technology and software allow for the creation of a 2D image from the 3D mammogram, eliminating the need for an additional digital mammogram.
If you have any additional questions or concerns about 3D mammograms, talk to your healthcare provider, or call the number above.