Mammograms continue to be the most effective way to detect breast cancer early and increase a woman’s chances of survival. And now, they’re about to become even better.
Digital breast tomosynthesis, also referred to as 3D mammography, provides a clearer, more accurate view of the breast and allows doctors to more effectively pinpoint the size, shape, and location of any abnormalities.
“Imagine a loaf of bread. Instead of seeing the entire loaf in one picture, like you would with a regular mammogram, you’re slicing it down so you get more detail,” explains Emma Simpson, MD, Chair of Radiology for Main Line Health.
So how does it work? 3D mammography takes three-dimensional images of the breast using a technology similar to CT scans, and combines the images to form a full picture of the breast. Not only will a more comprehensive picture lead to better detection, it can also reduce the number of false alarms, when women are called back in for additional mammograms because radiologists aren’t certain whether or not a tumor is present.
Although 3D mammography has been recommended for all women, some groups benefit more from it than others. Women between the ages of 40 and 50, women with dense breasts, and women who have a personal or family history of breast cancer are the best candidates for a more precise mammogram. Even if you’re not in one of these groups, talk to your doctor about trying 3D mammography.
“This type of detection could save a lot of lives,” says Dr. Simpson.
3D mammography will soon be offered at all four Main Line Health Comprehensive Breast Centers. To schedule your mammogram, call 1.888.876.8764 or visit mainlinehealth.org/imaging.