3D mammography shows the breast in slices, enabling radiologists to detect hidden or very small cancers.
3D mammography is similar to the 2D digital mammography widely used today. Patients receive the same amount of compressions. However, while a 2D image takes rough four seconds, a 3D mammography takes an additional 11 seconds.
The 3D mammography also takes a series of low-dose images of the breast, but it takes them from multiple angles. Studies have shown that using a combination of 2D and 3D mammography offers the best breast cancer evaluation. In effect, 3D mammography shows the breast in slices, enabling radiologists to detect hidden or very small cancers.
Breast tomosynthesis enables radiologists to view the inner structures of the breast. The technology may help detect cancers that could have been missed with traditional 2D mammography. 3D mamography allows for better viewing of calcifications. Of particular note, is the evaluation of breasts of women who have dense breast tissue. Using 3D mammography may help eliminate follow up recalls of patients or even biopsies. In other words, it can help reduce the number of false positive callbacks.
It's important to note that one in eight women will get breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. Therefore, early detection is of prime importance. Beginning at the age of 40, the American Cancer Society indicates that an annual mammogram is recommended. Women who are at higher risks may require different or more frequent screenings depending on doctor advisement.
This new technology is approved by the Food and Drug Administration.