Science and Health

3-D Mammograms Might Significantly Improve Screening Results

New research published Tuesday shows 3-D mammograms might improve breast cancer detection rates by more than 40 percent.

3-D Mammograms Might Significantly Improve Screening Results
Flickr / themozhi's pixel displays

Some potentially exciting news in the fight against breast cancer.

"New research shows that 3-D mammograms may improve scan results." (Via NBC)

To be more specific, a new study published Tuesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association found when used along with standard 2-D mammograms, 3-D mammography boosted breast cancer detection rates by more than 40 percent.

Researchers also discovered when using the new screening method, there was a 15 percent drop in the number of women who had to come back for additional imaging. (Via Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation)

To get these results, the research team analyzed data from 13 medical centers that had made the switch to 3-D mammography — which is also known as tomosynthesis.

They then compared results from the years when the centers were only using mammograms to those from recent years when doctors used both mammograms and tomosynthesis. (Via YouTube / Scottsdale Medical Imaging Ltd)

In an editorial published with the study, one of the lead researchers said: "This is very positive. ... If you have access to [3-D mammography], you should feel comfortable getting it." (Via The Journal of the American Medical Association)

But, as the leader of the Westside Cancer Center at the University of Southern California told CBS, it may be challenging for some women because of the additional cost.

"It's slightly more expensive, and so many centers are charging a premium, but a lot are charging a premium anywhere from $50 to $70."

The 3-D scans also reportedly expose women to more radiation, which has made some doctors hesitant. A radiologist at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois, told HealthDay, "We would like to see long-term outcomes."

3-D mammography has been available in the U.S. since 2011, when the FDA approved it to be used alongside 2-D mammograms. Last year, the agency approved a 3-D system that can be used by itself.