3D Mammography

  • Department of:
  • Adena Regional Medical Center

It's estimated that one in every eight women will develop breast cancer within her lifetime. That is why early and accurate detection is critical to survival.

3D Mammography, also known as tomosynthesis, is a clinically proven, innovative screening technology that allows for better, more accurate breast cancer detection and now Adena Regional Medical Center is the first in the region to offer this option to patients.

Conventional mammograms provide doctors with a two-dimensional image of the three-dimensional breast. Overlapping layers of tissue can sometimes create unclear results, unnecessary callbacks, or worse, cancer can be missed. 3D mammography is the only mammogram proven superior for dense breasts compared to conventional mammograms.

Tomosynthesis provides a series of images of the breast, allowing radiologists to better evaluate breast tissue layer-by-layer, allowing improved visualization of abnormalities no longer hidden by overlapping tissue.

“With Tomosynthesis, there are several benefits to the patient,” said Adena Radiologist Bang Huynh. “Because of its clinically proven increase in accuracy, tomosynthesis can help reduce false positive recalls for additional imaging, decreasing the patient’s stress and worry of the unknown, while increasing cancer detection rates.” 

Tomosynthesisis proven to: 

  • Reduce unnecessary callbacks by 20-40%
  • Increase breast cancer detection rate by 30-40% compared to conventional mammography

What to Expect? 

The process of a 3D mammogram is the same as a conventional 2D exam. The technologist will position the patient, compress the breast, and take images from different angles. There’s no additional compression required with the 3D mammogram, and it only takes a few extra seconds. The appointment itself only takes about 15 minutes.

The technologist will then view the images to ensure images are of diagnostic quality for interpretation. A radiologist will then interpret the images and report results to the physician.

“While this technology is very advanced and there are many benefits to the patient, the way radiologists examine the tissue and interpret results is similar to the interpretive process of 2D mammography but requires scrutiny of many more images using dedicated software,” explained Huynh.

Addressing Breast Density Does Not Have to be Complex

While on average 75% of women report being familiar with risk factors for breast cancer, less than 1% listed breast density as a factor.

When discussing breast density, it may be easier to describe dense breast tissue as clouds in the sky and breast cancers as white planes in flight. When a plane flies through wispy clouds, you can still see the plane in the air, but when a plane flies through thick clouds, it can be more difficult to see.

Is a 3D Mammography Exam Right for Me?

Breast density varies among women. Today, 40-50% of women aged 40-74 have dense breast tissue. Tomosynthesis is accurate for women of all ages, with both dense and non-dense breasts.  It is also covered and paid for by Medicare, and a growing number of private insurers.

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