3D Mammography Helps Increase Cancer Detection, Reduces False Positives

Adding 3D mammography to your traditional mammogram increases cancer detection and reduces false-positive results, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Also known as breast tomosynthesis, 3D mammography is a type of digital mammography in which X-ray machines take pictures of thin slices of the breast from different angles, the National Cancer Institute says. 

Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women, second only to lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. More than 230,000 women in the nation are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.

To understand how 3D mammography differs from the traditional 2D mammography, imagine a loaf of bread with a marble baked inside.  If you examined the bread loaf unsliced, you might see the marble or at least see an indication of where it might be located, but it would be more difficult to pinpoint; that’s 2D mammography.

But if that loaf of bread were sliced and you could pull out each slice to examine it, you could easily pinpoint the marble’s location. That’s 3D mammography. The greater number of images increases the opportunity for the radiologist to catch a questionable spot.

The 3D process is similar to a traditional mammogram except while the machine remains stationary for the traditional mammogram, the machine rotates in a circular arc around the breast for the 3D procedure.

The 3D procedure is particularly beneficial for women with dense breasts; the dense tissue makes it more difficult to spot cancers using traditional mammography.

Van Wert Health offers 3D mammography at the Van Wert Health Fox Road location (140 Fox Road, Suite 104).  To schedule a mammogram with Van Wert Health Diagnostic Services, call 419-238-8642.