How 3D Mammography Can Help You Better Detect Breast Cancer

Michelle Hopkins

While 3D mammography use is currently limited, this technology is expected to quickly become the gold standard for detecting breast cancer across the country. That's due to the fact that 3D mammography not only helps better detect cancer, but can also help reduce the incidence of false positives that lead to unnecessary biopsies and return visits for further testing. Here is more information on how 3D mammography technology is expected to revolutionize the way women are screened for breast cancer and how it can help you.

The Basics Behind 3D Mammography

Unlike standard mammograms which are two-dimensional, 3D mammograms create a three-dimensional image from multiple angles, providing doctors and researchers a better view inside a woman's breasts and more detail of any masses if they're observed.

The 3D image creates extremely thin slices of an imaging screen, allowing a doctor or technician to peer through each layer of your breast tissue, Fortunately, the actual procedure for receiving a 3D mammogram is much like a standard mammogram, allowing for a quick and hassle-free scanning for most women.   

Studies Support The Usefulness of 3D Mammography Technology

There are rigorous studies which demonstrate just how useful 3D mammography technology is. In fact, a study conducted at 13 US hospitals determined that 3D mammograms used alongside digital mammograms helped increase breast cancer detected by over 40 percent. At the same time, there was a 15 percent decrease in the amount of women who had to return for further testing due to a suspicious but unclear finding during their first visit. This can help reduce unnecessary biopsies that often produce negative results.

Other studies have found that women with dense breasts can especially benefit from 3D mammograms, with standard mammograms often having difficulty penetrating dense tissue to provide accurate readings.

Potential Downsides To 3D Mammograms

There are some potential downsides to 3D mammograms. For one, they are currently more expensive than standard mammograms, and depending on your insurance, you may have to pay extra to receive one. The cost is expected to go down over time as the technology becomes more widespread and standardized.

At the same time, they produce more radiation than standard mammograms, raising some concerns about long-term radiation exposure.

Ultimately, 3D mammograms will likely become standard in the future. In the meantime, speak with your doctor about whether a 3D mammogram is available in your area and whether the procedure is right for you. Contact a clinic like Radiology Affiliates Imaging for more information.