Recently, we have received many questions regarding the most recent study that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association stating that 3-D breast mammograms were more accurate than the traditional 2-D mammograms.
We thought there were a few things we could share with you regarding this study:
- The study was funded by Hologic, the manufacturer of the 3-D imaging equipment.
- The study further complicates important questions about mammograms, such as how often women should be screened for breast cancer, what age women should begin screenings, and which modality should be used.
- A 3-D mammogram starts with a regular 2-D mammogram. Then additional x-rays are taken in an arc allowing the viewer to see the breast in three dimensions.
- With 3-D ultrasound, the incidence of patient recalls for additional views dropped by about 10%.
- The addition of 3D imaging detected 41% more invasive cancers. Despite that impressive number, the absolute numbers are less impressive; 3 out of 1000 women were diagnosed with the 2-D mammogram and 4 out of 1000 were diagnosed with the 3-D mammogram.
Furthermore, the finding of one additional invasive cancer per 1000 women does not necessarily equate to improved mortality. This fact, coupled with the increased amount of radiation (at least double the dose), and cost (insurance carriers generally do not pay for this modality), make the decision to use the new technology questionable.
We will await confirmatory studies before we recommend this test as a routine screening tool for our general population of patients.
As always, if you have any further questions please contact us at 248.932.9223 or at firstname.lastname@example.org