3D Mammograms May Improve Breast Cancer Screening
Higher detection rates, fewer false alarms seen with newer technology, study says
TUESDAY, June 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Newer, three-dimensional mammograms may be better at picking up invasive tumors and avoiding false alarms than traditionalbreast cancer screening methods, a study of 13 U.S. hospitals suggests.
At the same time, there was a 15 percent dip in the number of women who had to return for more tests because of a suspicious mammogram finding.
Experts said the findings, reported in the June 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, suggest the 3D technology can boost the accuracy of mammographyscreening.
"This is very positive," said Dr. Etta Pisano of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, who wrote an editorial published with the study.
"If you have access to [3D mammography], you should feel comfortable getting it," Pisano said.
But, she stressed, "you don't have to go looking for it, either."
That's partly because 3D mammograms are more expensive than standard ones, and most insurers don't cover them yet. Women would have to pay the additional charges -- typically from $50 to $100.
The scans also expose women to more radiation, Pisano said.
Plus, there are bigger-picture questions, including whether 3D mammography -- known as digital breast tomosynthesis -- ultimately makes a difference in how breast cancerpatients fare, one expert said.
"We would like to see long-term outcomes," said Dr. Sarah Friedewald, the lead researcher on the new study and a radiologist at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill.
But she said her team's findings point to a shorter-term advantage. "We found 3D mammography really does help doctors find more invasive breast cancers while cutting down on callbacks," Friedewald said.
A "callback" happens when a mammogram picks up something suspicious, and the doctor wants to do additional imaging or a biopsy. For most women, it turns out to be nothing; according to the American CancerSociety, fewer than 10 percent of women called back for more testing are diagnosed with breast cancer.
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That's great, everyone should have one! It was FDA approved in 2011 so they may have had it for years. I have to get one and looked up the info and thought I'd share.
Hmm, i think the hospital I go to here in NH has been using one of those 3D machines for a few years now.
Thank you for sharing this information!
This is what found the pea sized lump in my left breast. Had sterotactic biopsy which showed about 2mm was very early cancer. Right where the cells change from normal to cancer. I have a lumpectomy on Monday.