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Early breast cancer detection is key to increased survival, and the time frame for detection keeps getting earlier due to advanced screening technology. Specifically, 3D mammography is a powerful breast cancer detection tool. Unlike traditional 2D mammography which takes only one static image, a 3D mammogram takes multiple images to create a three-dimensional picture, providing radiologists with a more complete view of the breast. This is why 3D mammography may be considered the new international gold standard for detecting breast cancer early.
What’s the Difference Between 2D and 3D Mammography?
Improving on traditional mammography, 3D mammograms offer a more enhanced approach to studying breast tissue. Comparing 2D with 3D mammography is like comparing a first-generation smartphone with one of the more current models available today. While both phones will give you connectivity, an upgraded smartphone will have a better display, a faster and more powerful processor, higher resolution, and other improved features.
When being performed, the positioning of both 2D and 3D mammograms are almost identical. The major difference between them is that the 3D mammogram takes multiple images, instead of a single image like the 2D version. Similar to how a photographer would want to take several photos of a subject in order to capture all angles, a 3D mammography unit will move around the arc of the breast to take multiple shots. Then, utilizing its computer software, 3D mammography combines all these images to deliver the complete picture.
3D mammography is a revolutionary screening and diagnostic tool that could be your best first line of defense in early breast cancer detection.
Benefits of 3D Mammogram Technology
Here are three reasons you should consider opting for a 3D mammography:
1. Fewer Callbacks
“3D mammography is more accurate than conventional 2D mammography,” says radiologist Regina Hooley, MD, a Yale Medicine breast imaging expert. This means fewer callbacks and false positives. A false positive is when a mammogram shows something suspicious that turns out to be normal. No cancer means good news, but addressing this suspicious area would mean additional consultations, more tests, and extra procedures that will only lead to more expenses and a lot of unnecessary worrying.
2. Earlier Detection
3D mammography improves the cancer detection rate. The ability to better evaluate dense breast tissue than conventional 2D mammography is what gives this tool its accuracy and efficacy. Dense breast tissue can make a 2D mammogram less sensitive, but because the 3D mammogram technology divides the tissue into “slices,” density is no longer an obstacle. Since radiologists can have a deeper look into the breast tissue, the chances that they will miss an early sign of cancer decrease. 3D technology makes it easier to detect cancer that is hidden by overlapping tissue, allowing radiologists to find small, invasive cancers. Research shows 3D mammography is up to 40 percent better at detecting invasive breast cancers.
3. Less Radiation
3D mammography is safe because radiation exposure to the breast is very low. There is less compression required and less overall radiation exposure for patients undergoing a 3D mammogram compared to 2D. This is one of the safest and most comfortable mammogram systems available today. Even when a 2D and 3D mammography are combined for your screening (this is generally standard practice), the radiation dose from both exams is still well below the acceptable limits defined by the FDA (and only a fraction of the level of radiation we get annually from going outside). More importantly, no evidence shows that this low level of radiation has any significant effect on the breasts.
Schedule a 3D Mammogram
Mammograms can show breast lumps before they can be felt by breast self-exams or clinical breast exams, and detecting the early symptoms of breast cancer can mean a higher survivability rate. Mammograms, therefore, can save your life.
Choosing where you get your mammogram matters, and we offer tips for finding the right mammography service for you in our related blog post.
At Bedford Breast Center, we will help you take charge of your health. From breast cancer diagnosis and breast cancer treatments to breast cancer surgery and reconstruction, we offer our patients superior clinical care in a first-class environment. Helmed by surgical oncologist Dr. Leslie Memsic and breast surgeon Dr. Heather Richardson, our state-of-the-art and beautiful facility provides a single-source center for breast health care. Part of our commitment to providing superior breast health management is keeping up to date with the latest in technology, including 3D mammography, because we believe in a higher standard of care for our patients.
The Bedford Breast Center was created to provide the best care possible for our patients in the Los Angeles area. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, contact us online or call us at (310) 278-8590.