3-D imaging improves breast cancer detection
A 3-D imaging technique called tomosynthesis, when used with digital mammography, could result in better detection of breast cancer and in fewer women being called back for additional testing, according to a new study published in _JAMA. _
Mammograms are the main method of screening for breast cancer. Digital tomosynthesis was only approved by the FDA in 2011, and is not widely available. Mammograms have been shown to reduce the risk of women dying from breast cancer by 35 percent in women over the age of 50. But it has its limitations. It has been known to produce too many false positive results and can at times miss lesions in overlapping tissue.
Digital tomosynthesis takes multiple X-ray pictures from different angles, which is used to construct 3-D images of the entire breast.
For the study, researchers analyzed data from 13 centers, totaling 454,850 examinations, of which 173,663 used a combination of mammography and tomosynthesis. They recorded the number of patients who were called back for more tests, the cancer detection rate, the number of patients recalled following a breast cancer diagnosis, and number of patients who had a biopsy after a breast cancer diagnosis.
The use of the new technology reduced the recall rate from 107 to 91 per 1,000 screens. Cancer detection rose from 4.2 to 5.4, and for invasive cancer it rose from 2.9 to 4.1 cases per 1,000 screens.
Researchers said they believe tomosynthesis is a valuable diagnostic tool, but noted that more clinical testing is necessary.
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