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Tomosynthesis: The 3-D advantage

Mele Pochereva Breast Cancer Awareness

For more than five decades, mammography has been the primary screening test for early signs of breast cancer. Today, three-dimensional digital mammography—or breast tomosynthesis—brings a new level of technology to early detection that may be especially advantageous for women with a strong family history of, or predisposition for, breast cancer and for women with dense breast tissue.

3-D mammography takes a series of low-dose radiation images—thin “slices” of the compressed breast—at different angles. That enables radiologists to review these slices of tissue one millimeter at a time. A study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association in June 2014 reported that the Selenia 3-D digital mammogram—available at Castle’s Women’s Imaging Center—significantly increases breast cancer detection with a more than 40 percent increase in the detection of invasive cancers among the 450,000 mammography exams reviewed in the study. The superior quality of the images were also found to result in lower recall rates compared with 2-D digital mammography.

Currently, there is an out-of-pocket charge for breast tomosynthesis screenings under most health insurance policies. However, you should check with your insurance company to verify if they will cover this important service.