Should I Get a Low-Dose 3-D Mammogram?
What is low-dose 3-D mammography?
Standard mammography relies upon two-dimensional X-ray images of the breast to detect possible areas of concern. 3-D mammography, or breast tomosynthesis, is a process that incorporates many X-ray images taken from a range of angles to create a three-dimensional image of the breast that can be closely examined a millimeter at a time. C-View, a low-dose 3-D form of mammography, allows for quicker procedure times and lower radiation doses than previously possible.
How is it different from traditional mammography?
The computer can translate 3-D tomosynthesis images into 2-D images that are clearer and more detailed than images from a traditional 2-D mammogram. This allows radiologists to view a much clearer picture of structures within the breast tissue. The appearance of linear structures, radiating lines, and bright spots, which can be indicative of particular breast conditions, is enhanced with tomosynthesis.</P
What are the advantages of low-dose 3-D mammography?
3-D mammography allows for more accurate diagnosis of masses, distortions, and variations in density than standard mammograms, especially in women with dense breasts—those having a higher proportion of brous or glandular tissue in relation to fatty tissue. Research has linked higher breast density with higher breast cancer risk, so increased vigilance in detection is even more vital in women with denser breasts. Getting the clearest picture possible is especially important for women with dense breasts because both dense breast tissue and tumors appear white on traditional x-rays. As a result, cancerous abnormalities can be missed. Also, many benign conditions appear on mammograms; dense tissue can more frequently appear to be suspicious, resulting in many costly (and often stress-inducing) additional tests, such as biopsies.
Using 3-D mammography, practitioners have been found to make 20–40% fewer callbacks for diagnostic procedures while detecting invasive cancers at an approximately 41% higher rate compared with digital mammography alone,and the rate of false positives has been shown to be 15% lower with the addition of tomosynthesis. Low-dose 3-D mammograms are both faster and safer. The procedure requires just 3.7 seconds of breast compression time and delivers a radiation dose that is comparable to 2-D exams and well below the maximum safe dose set by the FDA.