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A recent study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that breast tomosynthesis, or 3D mammography, reveals significantly more invasive cancers than a traditional, 2D mammogram. Invasive cancers are more likely to spread or cause death. 3D mammography also reduces the number of women called back for additional imaging, which reduces patient anxiety, helps lower health care costs.

The study’s findings included:

  • A 41% increase in the detection of invasive breast cancers
  • A 29% increase in the detection of all breast cancers
  • A 40% decrease in false positives
  • A 15% decrease in women recalled for additional imaging

What is breast tomosynthesis? 
Breast tomosynthesis, or 3D mammography represents a significant breakthrough in breast imaging technology. A screening and diagnostic tool designed for early breast cancer detection. In addition, a 2D image is generated from the 3D data set. Tomosynthesis produces a three-dimensional picture of the breast that a radiologist can view in 1-millimeter slices, making it possible to visualize breast tissue at a level of detail never before possible. The additional 3D images provide the radiologists much more information with which to evaluate a patient’s breast health, while also reducing the need for follow-up imaging.

How are the 3D images obtained? 
3D images are obtained when the x-ray beam travels in an arc over the breast, capturing multiple images in a single pass, from a variety of angles.

Who should get breast tomosynthesis? 
Everyone who is a candidate for 2D mammography is also a candidate for tomosynthesis. Patients with dense breast tissue may benefit most, but every woman’s breast health is better evaluated with 3D mammography. We suggest that women 40 years of age and older receive an annual screening mammogram.

What about radiation exposure? 
The total dose received during a 3D mammogram is well below the limits defined in the Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA) as set forth by the FDA. The radiation from a traditional digital 2D exam and a tomo with c-view is nearly the same.  And the radiation from a mammogram is very low (0.4 mSV), approximately equivalent to 7 weeks of background radiation.  For comparison a chest x-ray is 0.1 mSv and a lung cancer screening chest CT is ~1.5 mSv.

Does health insurance cover 3D mammography? 
Many insurance plans including Medicare, Medicaid and Premera Blue Cross all cover 3D screening mammograms in full. However plans and coverage can vary widely. We always recommend that you consult your insurance carrier for plan and coverage details.

How does someone get a 3D mammogram? 
3D mammography is available at all of Inland Imaging’s Spokane area breast imaging centers. To schedule an annual screening mammogram call Inland Imaging at 509.455.4455.


This sponsored content is produced by Inland Imaging and C2 Connections, and distributed by C2 Connections, a division of KHQ, Inc.

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