3D mammograms are now a thing, and they could mean great strides for women’s health

When we hear “3D,” many of us still picture something – an alien, giant reptile, etc. – jumping out at us from a movie screen. We definitely wouldn’t think of a mammogram . But that’s about to change.

3D mammograms are here, and they could mean a huge difference in detecting breast cancer, especially women with dense breasts, or those with tumors are just beginning to form.

The Miami Herald reports that the FDA approved of the technology in 2011, and that 3D mammography, also known as 3D digital breast tomosynthesis, enables radiologists to get a significantly better visual of breast tissue.

Dr. Monica Yepes, chief of breast imaging and associate professor of radiology at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at U-Health, says that this technology captures images of the breast in multiple places and at multiple angles: “It is like getting multiple views of an apple where you can actually examine each slice.

In contrast, the traditional, 2D mammogram image gives views from above and the side – meaning that small lesions might be difficult to evaluate, or even see at all.

The 3D technology will aid in early detection, especially now that the American Cancer Society recommends that women with an average risk of breast cancer get mammograms yearly starting at age 45; women with a higher risk and/or family history should begin screening earlier and do so more frequently. Women 55 and up can get mammograms bi-yearly, but can continue to get yearly ones.

According to Yepes, studies have shown a 40-percent increase in breast cancer detection with 3D technology; this number is hugely significant – clearly, the 3D mammography can save lives. Says Yepes, “It is a very promising technology. We expect it to become the standard of care in the future.

We’re excited for the advancement in women’s health, and hope the 3D mammography becomes the norm ASAP!

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