The newest tool in Breast Cancer screening is called tomography, also known as a 3D mammogram. A 3D mammogram machine looks the same as a 2D machine and the positioning is the same. But instead of taking only 4 images like a traditional mammogram, the 3D mammogram acquires approximately 200 images. This enables the radiologist to scan through the tissue to find lurking tumors that might be missed by 2D mammograms. The result is a 40% increase in the ability to detect breast cancers at their earliest stages, when they are easily treatable. That, in turn, may help save lives from breast cancer.
Not only can it detect more cancers, 3D mammography can differentiate cancers from overlapping normal tissue. This enhanced clarity decreases the chance of having a false alarm for breast cancer.
While the radiation dose is slightly higher than a digital 2D mammogram, it is equivalent to the dose from a traditional film mammogram and is considered to be within the safe, recommended range by the FDA. Patients are discouraged from using deodorant, talcum powder or lotion on the day of their exam, as these can produce abnormal results- you will be given specific instructions on your exam during scheduling.
Please be advised- Some insurance carriers do not cover 3D mammography and a nominal fee may be required. Be sure to ask your insurance company if it is covered.