Digital breast tomosynthesis, also known as 3-D mammography, is a relatively new screening and diagnostic breast-imaging tool to help improve the early detection of breast cancer.
“While it is not yet widely available, and not yet the current diagnostic standard, it eventually will be,” says Karen Karsif, MD, FACS, Medical Director of The Center for Breast Health at Good Samaritan Hospital.
“From the patients’ perspective, it is not that different, perhaps an extra second or two of compression.” However, from the doctor’s perspective, says Dr. Karsif, “It produces hundreds of pictures, not just two. Images are taken millimeter by millimeter, and It allows us see things a lot better and catch things far earlier.” She and her colleagues have been especially surprised at the diagnostic benefits seen in post-menopausal women.
“If your insurance covers it, or if you are otherwise able to afford it, I would recommend getting a 3-D mammogram, especially if you have dense breast tissue,” Dr. Karsif advises. For those unable to get a 3D mammogram, Dr. Karsif recommends requesting an ultrasound as an adjunct to their standard mammogram.