3D Mammography vs Digital Mammography

“Should I upgrade to a 3D Mammogram at My Next Appointment?”

Find out if 3D mammograms are right for you.

Every year, nearly 41,000 women die from breast cancer. It’s the second leading cause of cancer death in women, behind lung cancer. While we still don’t know how to prevent it, we do know that early detection saves lives.  That’s why screening mammograms are so important.

Problems with Traditional 2D Mammography

Certainly, a traditional mammogram is better than no mammogram at all. But research indicates that 3D Mammograms – also known as tomosynthesis, or tomo – are both more accurate, and better at detecting dangerous cancers than 2D digital  mammograms. 

Traditional mammography is also associated with more ‘false alarms’, resulting in a higher callback rate for patients. This causes undue stress and anxiety in the patient, and increases healthcare costs by necessitating follow-up tests.

3D mammograms reduce recall rates by up to 40 percent 

For women with dense breasts – and a higher risk for breast cancer –  tomosynthesis is a potential life saver.  While 2D mammograms produce ‘flat’ images, 3D mammograms can ‘see through’ even dense breast tissue, detecting irregularities that would be obscured on traditional mammography. These 3D images are similar to pages in a book, and allow radiologists to more closely examine each layer of breast tissue.

Current research also indicates that 3D mammograms may detect cancer earlier than 2D mammography.

With so many advantages , why would a patient choose not to have a 3D mammogram?  Unfortunately, the biggest drawback associated with tomo is cost.  Not all insurance plans cover 3D mammograms for breast cancer screening, so if you have to pay out of pocket, it can get expensive.

If cost is not a factor in your decision, then it’s definitely worth it to upgrade to 3D mammography. That said, never opt out of a getting a mammogram just because you can’t afford tomosynthesis. Mammograms save lives – period.

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