Dr. Kelley Z. Allison
Director of Breast Imaging
Dorothy G. Hoefer Comprehensive Breast Center
It is well known that screening mammography saves lives. Women who begin yearly mammograms starting at age 40 decrease their chances of dying from breast cancer by 30%. Although mammography is the best screening tool for breast cancer used today, it is not perfect. A major limitation of mammography is that is depicts a 3D object (normal breast) as a 2D image. The resulting overlap of normal breast tissue can thus obscure cancers making them difficult or impossible to detect.
Recent advances in technology have sought to alleviate this problem through the development of 3D mammography, also known as, tomosynthesis. During a 3D mammogram, the camera takes multiple images at different angles allowing the radiologist to view the breast “layer by layer.” This allows much greater detail and reduces tissue overlap. Thus, allowing the radiologist to detect cancers that might otherwise be obscured.
Studies have shown that 3D mammography increases cancer detection by 35% and also helps avoid follow up imaging and anxiety that comes along with those call back tests. This technology is highly beneficial for women with dense breast tissue and those at high risk for breast cancer. 3D mammography is the current gold standard in breast cancer screening for all women in 2018.
Frequently asked questions
Who should have a 3D mammogram?
It is approved for all women undergoing screening or diagnostic mammography.
Is it a separate exam or part of my regular mammogram?
3D mammography replaces the older 2D exam.
Will my insurance cover the test?
At this time, most insurance companies cover 3D mammography. Some insurance companies however, require an additional small fee to have this included as part of your mammogram screening.
Where can I have this exam?
Dorothy G. Hoefer Comprehensive Breast Center, Newport News, Virginia
Sentara Careplex Hospital, Hampton, Virginia
Online Scheduling www.sentara.com