In published articles within the radiology industry, a pair of studies were presented during a national radiologic convention that once again showed the improved performance of breast cancer screening and diagnosis when women were examined with 3D mammography. This continues the trend over the recent years of study after study showing the superiority of 3D mammography (also known as Digital Breast Tomosynthesis or DBT), over conventional 2D (2 Dimensional) mammograms.

Improved performance with 3D

Without delving into the complex medical terms used in the studies and articles, needless to say among the women in the studies, they had better results with 3D mammography. One study on screening showed recall rates declining in the age groups 40-54. As women know, being asked to return for additional imaging can create anxiety and nervousness at the uncertainty of the initial screening. By having these rates fall, more women are spared from additional testing which is subject to health insurance coverage and deductibles, as these tests are diagnostic in nature and not covered 100% by the Affordable Care Act.

In the other study which focused more on diagnostics and the BI-RADS (Breast Imaging Reporting And Data System) assessment categories, 3D mammography showed what medicine terms “improved clinical outcomes” which is really a terminology meaning better accuracy during the detection process. With more accuracy through this advanced technology comes finding more breast cancers. The study showed a nearly 17% INCREASE in cancer detection over conventional mammography.

That’s huge.

One study author concluded that “clearly, there are benefits to using 3D mammography in the diagnostic setting as well as the screening one.” It’s important to note that Diagnostic Imaging Services always uses the 3D technique for all diagnostic mammograms. It’s part of the DIS Standard of Care regarding breast cancer screening and women’s health.

2D vs 3D: what’s the difference?

3D mammography generates images of the breast by taking multiple views across the breast in an arc. 2D mammograms only compress the breast and take images from the front and side.

Computer software then compiles the views into a three-dimensional reconstruction of the breast that can be interpreted by a radiologist. It takes just a few seconds longer than 2D mammograms and the amount of radiation exposure is about the same. Generally, there is no difference in the level of physical discomfort between 2D and 3D mammography.

And yet, the additional images and information produced for the radiologist is so much more extensive in a 3D mammogram. Our doctors feel that within 18-24 months, 3D mammography will be the national standard of care in breast cancer screening and detection.

The Capitol Imaging Services affiliate, Diagnostic Imaging Services, performs screening and diagnostic mammograms both in 2D and 3D. Four locations, in Covington, Marrero, Metairie and Slidell, LA serve tens of thousands of women annually by providing efficient breast cancer screenings.

We always encourage women to speak with their medical provider right away if they experience any symptoms or want to know if they are at a higher risk for breast cancer. Medical imaging plays an important role in the early detection and treatment of breast cancer. Should you decide breast cancer screening is right for you, we hope you will visit a Diagnostic Imaging Services location.

All we need is about 20 minutes.