Mammograms continue to be the best line of defense for early breast cancer screening.
In an ongoing effort to provide the best in advanced technology for the early detection and treatment of breast cancer, Kettering Health Network’s Fort Hamilton Hospital offers its patients 3D mammography.
What is a 3D mammogram?
During a 3D mammogram, also known as tomosynthesis, or “tomo”, the X-ray arm of the machine sweeps in a slight arc over the breast, taking multiple images of the breast in thin slices, from many different angles. A computer then uses these images to produce a layered, 3D image of the breast tissue. This more detailed picture of the breast allows radiologists to “look through” the breast tissue, layer by layer, to find cancers even earlier.
Unlike traditional 2D or film mammograms that can obscure the detection of some cancers due to compressing and overlapping breast tissue (overlapped breast tissue can sometimes appear as a lump), 3D mammograms can give doctors a clearer, more accurate picture of breast tissue and potential abnormalities.
Additional benefits of 3D mammography
For patients who have dense breast tissue, seeing more detail can be important.
“Dense breast tissue can limit the effectiveness of routine mammography exams,” explained Dr. Linda Reilman, medical director of radiology at Fort Hamilton Hospital. “3D mammography offers some additional benefits, particularly in patients with dense breast tissue, or complicated mammograms to help the radiologist ‘see through’ the tissue. It can save patients from being called back for additional studies to clear up questions, and it also can pick up subtle early lesions, sometimes cancer, which may otherwise be missed.”
In addition to providing better detection of abnormalities in dense breast tissue, the benefits of 3D mammography also include:
- Earlier detection and diagnosis
- Increased accuracy: 3D mammography can make a tumor easier to see by minimizing the impact of overlapping breast tissue. According to clinical studies conducted by the FDA, reviewing a 3D breast image has helped physicians find more cancers than with 2D imaging alone.
- Less anxiety: Thanks to the improved accuracy in diagnosing potential abnormalities that 3D mammograms provide, the number of false alarms and unnecessary callbacks to women for additional scans and biopsies has decreased.
Who should get a 3D mammogram?
“The recommendations for whom and how 3D mammography is utilized is facility dependent, therefore different centers will vary somewhat in how it is used,” said Reilman. “I would encourage all patients to be aware of their mammogram results, and they should discuss options with their referring physicians, or with the radiologist or staff at their mammography centers.”
To schedule a mammogram, call 1-800-373-2160 or simply click here.
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