3D Mammography detects more invasive breast cancers, lowers rate of unnecessary recalls

by Bruce Sylvester – 3D Mammography detects a significantly higher rate of invasive cancers and reduces the rate of  unnecessary recalls, researchers reported on June 25, 2014 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

“This study confirms what we already know: 3D mammography finds more of the invasive, harmful cancers we want found and saves women the anxiety and cost of having additional exams for what turns out to be a false alarm,” said co-author Donna Plecha, MD, Director of Breast Imaging at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio. “We already knew that breast screening saves lives and this study provides us with firm data that 3D mammography is a better test for detecting breast cancer early when it is treatable.”

The study was conducted across the U.S, and included analysis of nearly half a million mammograms.

Among the key findings were a 41% increase in invasive cancer detected with 3D mammography, a 15% decrease in unnecessary recalls for false alarms and a 29% increase in the detection of all breast cancers.

Hologic 3D mammography (breast tomosynthesis) was used exclusively. It is the only FDA-approved 3D mammography system.

The system uses advanced digital mammography and tomosynthesis-generated images to create   detailed images, which are then used to produce one-millimeter slices that can be viewed as a 3D reconstruction of the breast.

The clinical exam is only slightly longer in length.

“Breast cancers caught in the initial stages by mammography are more likely to be cured and are less likely to require chemotherapy or as extensive surgery,” said Dr. Plecha, who is also Assistant Professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. “This study shows that 3D mammography is a more effective screening tool, and we must make it accessible to all women