beth israel deaconess medical center a harvard medical school teaching hospital

  • Contact BIDMC
  • Maps & Directions
  • Other Locations
  • Careers at BIDMC
  • Smaller Larger

Find a Doctor

Request an Appointment

Smaller Larger

Screening with 3D Mammograms

Posted 6/27/2014

Posted in

  There is seemingly no end to the controversy about the value of screening mammography, the age at which it should begin, how often it should happen, what kind of mammogram machine works best. It is important to remember that all the discussion is about screening mammograms, not about diagnostic mammograms. Screening mammograms are what women who have not had breast cancer do every year. Diagnostic mammograms are what we do; the procedure itself is not different, but the review and the speediness of same likely are.

  You probably know that the newest kind of mammograms are 3D mammograms. These machines are generally now available at academic and other big screening centers; it might be wise to ask. Here is an article from the American Cancer Society that summarizes the most current thinking about the best available screening.

Breast Cancer Screening with 3-D Technology Finds More

By Stacy Simon

Researchers from several radiology centers across the US have found that 3-D mammograms have some
advantages over standard digital mammograms, the kind most women receive for regular breast cancer screening.(Screening is testing for cancer in people with no symptoms of the disease.) In a study of 454,850 breast scans, 3-Dmammograms found slightly more cancers than standard digital mammograms and caused fewer women to be calledback for more testing for what turned out not to be cancer.
3-D mammography is another way to refer to digital mammography with tomosynthesis, in which a machine takesmany low-dose x-rays as it moves over the breast. The images taken can be combined into a 3-dimensional picture,which may allow doctors to see inside the breast more clearly than with a standard 2-view mammogram, and possiblyfind more cancers. These 3-D mammograms expose the breasts to more radiation than standard mammograms, butremain within FDA-approved safe levels for radiation from mammograms.
In the study, published June 24, 2014 in Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers looked at data from13 medical centers before and after they began using tomosynthesis. They found that digital mammograms withtomosynthesis detected 1 additional cancer for every 1,000 scans and resulted in 15% fewer false alarms – women called back for more tests and then found not to have cancer. The study was not designed to find out whether mammograms using tomosynthesis can save more lives than standard digital mammograms.

Read more:


Add your comment