3D Mammography Improves Cancer Detection in Dense Breast Tissue - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on September 23, 2015

3D Mammography Improves Cancer Detection in Dense Breast Tissue

Crozer-Keystone Health SystemMedia Contact:
Katrina Stier
(610) 447-6314
Katrina.Stier@crozer.org

Studies have shown that 3D mammography has the potential to significantly increase the rate of cancer detection in women with dense breast tissue.

To schedule your 3D mammogram, please call
1-866-525-9729 or request an appointment online.

Mammograms are a key when it comes to screening for breast cancer. They are also crucial in finding cancer in its earliest stages when it’s easiest to treat. But, even with the help of a standard mammogram, breast cancer is more difficult to detect in women with dense breast tissue.

What is Dense Breast Tissue?

Breast tissue is composed of milk ducts, milk glands, supportive tissue and fatty tissue. Low breast density means there’s a greater amount of fat than breast and connective tissue. Dense breast tissue consists of more supportive and gland tissues than fatty tissue.

On a mammogram, non-dense breast tissue appears dark and transparent. Contrastingly, dense breast tissue appears as a solid white area on a mammogram, which makes it more difficult to see through. To complicate things, cancer also appears white on mammograms – this increases the chance that breast cancer may go undetected on a mammogram.

Despite this, mammograms are still recommended as an effective breast cancer screening tool for women with dense breasts – having one every year may help detect any abnormalities sooner. Digital mammograms save images of breasts as digital files instead of film, which was used in the past, giving doctors the opportunity for a more detailed analysis.

Benefits of 3D Mammography

However, studies have shown that digital breast tomosynthesis, or 3D mammography, has the potential to significantly increase the rate of cancer detection in women with dense breast tissue. That’s likely due to the nature of 3D mammography – the scanner moves in an arc over the breasts, taking images from a variety of angles to produce more detailed and sharper images.

Standard mammograms take images of breasts from two angles – from the front and the side.

The images produced in a 3D mammogram may help healthcare providers to better detect invasive tumors. 3D mammograms can also help reduce false alarms that occasionally occur with traditional breast cancer screening methods – radiologists may call women back for additional mammograms due to uncertainty about their findings. Of the 40 million women who get mammograms every year, about 10 percent receive a call back, which understandably causes anxiety.

Studies have found that combining 3D mammograms with standard digital mammograms increased breast cancer detection rates by more than 40 percent. For women who have had a standard mammogram, they won’t notice much of a difference getting a 3D mammogram – it only takes a few more minutes.

In addition to women with dense breast tissue, 3D mammography can be beneficial for women between the ages of 40 and 50, those who are peri- and post-menopausal, and those who have a history of breast cancer.

Request An Appointment

To request an appointment at one of our locations, call 1-866-5-CK-XRAY (1-866-525-9729) 24 hours a day, seven days a week or complete our onlineAppointment Request Form.

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