For most of a woman’s life the question has always been “how often should I get a mammogram at my age?” Now, as technology continues to advance, there is a new question to ask your doctor: “Should I get a 3-D mammogram?”In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, here’s some information that will explain what a 3-D mammogram is, how it is different from the long standing 2-D digital mammograms most women are familiar with, and if you should opt for the new version.
Once women turn 40 they should begin having mammograms. 200,000 women are diagnosed every year with breast cancer, and mammograms are the best way to screen for this cancer. 3-D mammography is also known as breast tomosynthesis, and this new technique became available in the US in 2014. Although approved by the FDA, it is still not considered the standard of care and is not yet available everywhere in the country.
The 3-D version differs from the standard technology because it takes multiple photos of each breast, not just two views per breast. It uses the same type of radiation source, but the screen rotates around the breast, taking dozens of photos. It allows the radiologist to see minute areas of the breast in 1 mm slices.
One of the greatest advantages of the breast tomosynthesis is the reduced amount of false positives. When a woman is faced with a false positive result, she must deal with additional testing and doctor visits, a possible biopsy, and all the stress and anxiety that comes with it. According to recent studies, 3-D mammograms have been found to reduce false positives by 40%.
Other benefits include:
Although there is no right or wrong answer about which type of mammogram women should choose, there are some who will benefit from one type more than the other. If you have a history of breast cancer in your family or have a prior history of breast cancer, the 3-D mammogram might be a better choice for you. If you are a younger and pre-menopausal woman with dense breasts, this type of mammography may detect more early cancers.
Only you and your physician at Dekalb Women’s Specialists can decide which might be better for you. Ask your Dekalb Women’s Specialist about the benefits of a 3-D mammograms for YOU.
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