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Is a 3D Mammogram Better than a Traditional Mammogram?

While a 3D mammogram can’t boast of being more comfortable than a traditional 2D mammogram, it may be substantially better at detecting breast cancer. A 3D mammogram — also known as a three-dimensional mammogram, breast tomo synthesis, digital tomosynthesis, or even just “tomo” — is a next-generation mammogram technology. 

Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it’s an excellent time to brush up on the differences between a 3D mammogram and a traditional mammogram, and an opportunity for us at Premier Women’s Care to emphasize the importance of getting screened for breast cancer. 

If you’re over 40, you should get a mammogram every 1-2 years. If there’s breast cancer in your family, you should consult with one of our Premier Women’s Care physicians for the screening schedule that’s best for you.

What is a 3D mammogram?

First approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration in 2011, 3D mammograms are gaining in popularity every year. Their use rose from 13% in 2015 to 43% in 2017

A 3D mammogram is an imaging test that takes several X-rays of your breast at one time to create two-dimensional and three-dimensional photos. These images are combined to generate a picture of your breast that is more detailed than just a traditional 2D mammogram. 

While not all hospitals or clinics offer 3D mammograms, Premier Women’s Care is proud to offer this advanced breast cancer screening.

3D mammogram vs. traditional mammogram

Research shows that 3D mammograms allow radiologists to detect breast cancer at a higher rate than 2D mammograms. In fact, experts who spoke to Radiology Business say that 3D mammograms have a 25% higher detection rate than traditional mammograms.

With the greater detection rate, 3D mammograms also produce fewer false positives and callbacks.  A false positive is a screening test that identifies possible breast cancer when there is none. Fewer false positives mean fewer unnecessary biopsies, not to mention far less anxiety and fear. 

This increased detail is especially beneficial to women with dense breast tissue, who are prone to higher rates of cancer. Experts sometimes find it difficult to read mammograms of women with dense breast tissue. A 3D mammogram image enables the radiologist to see the necessary details.

For all of the upside to using a 3D mammogram instead of a 2D mammogram, a look at the downside won’t take long. There are none. A 3D mammogram is no less uncomfortable to endure, and it emits the same amount of radiation as the older mammograms. 

Is it time for your annual mammogram? Call us at the Premier Women’s Care location most convenient for you in Cape Coral, Fort Myers or Lehigh Acres, Florida, or arrange your appointment using our convenient online booking feature here on our website.

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