The best defense against breast cancer is early detection. Until recently, the best way to detect breast cancer in its earliest stage was with digital mammography, which provides a two-dimensional image of the breast. Although 2D mammography is still highly reliable, a new technology now exists that makes discovering breast cancer easier.
Performed in conjunction with 2D mammography, breast tomosynthesis, or 3D mammography, is a revolutionary new screening and diagnostic tool designed to detect breast cancer in its earliest stages. Breast tomosynthesis builds a 3D mammogram by converting digital breast images into a stack of extremely thin slices.
Conventional digital mammography produces flat images that often resemble a smoky haze with overlapping tissue, making it difficult for radiologists to distinguish between normal and suspicious tissue and identify early subtle signs of cancer. Breast tomosynthesis allows radiologists to see breast tissue as never before - one millimeter at a time.
FDA approved, tomosynthesis produces 3D images of the breast by using multiple low-dose X-rays. The breast is positioned and compressed in the same way as during a regular mammogram, but the X-ray arm moves in a circular arc around the breast to obtain multiple images from different angles in about 10 seconds. A computer then produces 3D images of the breast tissue in one millimeter slices. This technology allows radiologists to scroll through the images as if they are flipping the pages of a book.
Benefits of tomosynthesis include:
- Improved breast cancer detection rates for invasive cancers
- Earlier detection of small breast cancers that may be hidden during digital mammography
- Greater accuracy in pinpointing size, shape and location of abnormalities
- Fewer unnecessary biopsies and additional tests
- Greater likelihood of detecting multiple breast tumors, which occur in 15 percent of breast cancer patients
- Clearer images of dense breast tissue
- Decrease in callbacks for follow-up mammograms
3D mammography is approved for all women who need standard mammograms in both the screening and diagnostic settings.
Tomosynthesis: 3D Mammography:
- Finds 40 percent more invasive cancers missed with conventional 2D mammography
- Reduces the need for a follow-up mammogram by up to 40 percent
For a list of risk factors and American Cancer Society recommendations, visit www.Cancer.org. Appointments are on a first-come, first-served basis. An order from a physician or qualified healthcare provider is not required, but the patient must provide a physician/provider name when an appointment is made. If the patient does not have a physician/provider, a list will be provided for selection. All mammogram reports will be sent to the physician/provider, and the patient is responsible for follow-up. *Check with your insurance provider to confirm coverage for a screening mammogram.