• Cancer

    Mayo Clinic Minute: 3 reasons you need a 3D mammogram

For many women over 40, a yearly screening mammogram to check for breast cancer is a fact of life – along with the anxiety of waiting for the results. But what if you could get a test that offered better cancer detection, fewer false positives and more peace of mind?

Dr. Robert Maxwell, a Mayo Clinic radiologist, says, with a 3D mammogram, many women can.

The technology is also called tomosynthesis, and health care providers say it offers three distinct benefits.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

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“3D mammograms allow us to be more accurate in our ability to detect and diagnose cancer as compared to traditional [two-dimensional] mammograms,” says Dr. Maxwell.

Two-dimensional screening mammograms provide only two images of the breast: the top and the side.

“A 3D mammogram would obtain approximately 300 images, as compared to the [two-dimensional] mammogram, which is about four images,” says Dr. Maxwell.

And that means better cancer detection and fewer false alarms.

“3D mammograms allow the radiologist to see the breast tissue in greater detail and be able to provide a more certain diagnosis,” says Dr. Maxwell.

This is especially valuable for women with dense breasts. They have a higher cancer risk.

“It means greater peace of mind, less anxiety, more accurate diagnosis if they have cancer, more certainty that they don’t,” says Dr. Maxwell.