For decades, doctors have been searching for a technology to find very small cancers and reduce the number of “false positives” when women are called back for diagnostic testing following a suspicious mammogram. This search lead to the development of digital tomosynthesis…an FDA-approved breast cancer screening technology that produces a series of one millimeter thick images viewed as a 3-dimensional reconstruction of the breast. With a 3D mammogram, our radiologists can see breast tissue in a way never before possible. Instead of viewing all the complexities of your breast in a flat image, the doctor can see fine individual details more clearly, no longer hidden by overlapping tissue.
The enhanced visualization that 3D mammography provides translates into specific, important benefits for our patients including:
Our radiologists can carefully go through each one millimeter layer of compiled 3D breast tissue images to more accurately screen for and pinpoint the size, shape and location of potential breast cancers.
Physicians can detect smaller tumors sooner at the earliest stages of breast cancer. Breast cancers caught in initial stages are less likely to require extensive surgery or chemotherapy and more likely to have a positive outcome.
Fewer False Alarms
With more clear and precise full breast images, radiologists can better distinguish harmless abnormalities from real tumors which translates to less anxiety for patients and lower out-of-pocket costs for diagnostic testing.
More Comprehensive Care
Fifteen percent of women with detected breast cancer have another tumor in the same breast or the other breast.
Our imaging machines take both 3D and 2D images so radiologists can compare results to previous digital mammogram results.
To create the best screening tool in the fight against breast cancer, you can elect to combine 2D and 3D screening at Women’s Diagnostic Center. When used with 2D digital mammography, clinical studies show that tomosynthesis 3D is superior to 2D digital mammography alone. Many early stage tumors that cannot be detected via 2D mammography can be seen with 3D technology. Breast cancer screening with tomosynthesis finds cancers missed with 2D mammograms and gives radiologists the confidence to significantly reduce recall rates.
We anticipate that many of our patients will choose to continue using 2D digital mammograms, which have been and still are the gold standard for breast cancer detection. Our 2D equipment is state-of-the-art and continues to serve as an outstanding screening resource in which we have great confidence. Offering 3D tomosynthesis represents our ongoing commitment to quality care and access to the next technological evolution in the fight against breast cancer.
Since the breast is often composed of pockets of dense tissue surrounded by fat, the flat 2D mammogram image may be obscured when x-rayed. The overlapping tissue in the image could result in difficulty viewing tiny spots called microcalcifications as well as other subtle signs of early cancer. A 3D mammogram allows us to examine breast tissue one layer at a time. Instead of viewing all the complexities of breast tissue in a single flat image, our physicians can examine your breast one millimeter at a time. Details are more visible and no longer hidden by surrounding tissue.
While more detailed imagery offered by 3D mammograms benefits every woman regardless of breast type, it plays a critical role for patients with dense breast tissue. Approximately 75% of women in their forties have dense breasts which puts them at higher risk for developing breast cancer. This percentage typically decreases with age, although close to half of all women in their sixties still have dense breast tissue. Tomosynthesis helps detect cancer earlier and more effectively than traditional mammography for women with dense breasts. A patient can learn if her breasts are dense by asking her physician or professional who performs her routine mammogram.
Tomosynthesis is very similar to a traditional mammogram. Your breast will be under compression while an x-ray arm, ergonomically designed for greater comfort, makes a quick arc taking images at several angles. Very low x-ray energy is used so radiation exposure is safely below ACR guidelines. The process takes only a few seconds after which your images are electronically sent to our doctors. Every patient at Women’s Diagnostic Center has the opportunity to meet with a physician and discuss her mammogram results the same day. Same-day results avoid delays in setting up an action plan when further study is needed. Tomosynthesis may be used by itself or in conjunction with a digital mammogram to capture more images.
“By bringing digital tomosynthesis to Louisville, we can detect breast cancer that conventional digital mammograms miss. One in eight women will develop breast cancer and if we can find it early, the 5-year survival rate is 97%. Our goal with 3D mammography is to offer early detection even earlier. It’s quick, specifically designed for patient comfort, and unquestionably the best tool available in the fight against breast cancer.”
Dr. Arthur McLaughlin
Medical Director/CEO, Women’s Diagnostic Center