KING-5 reporter Mimi Jung interviewed Polyclinic radiologist Dr. Arpita Swami about 2D versus 3D breast screening technology and its advantages, especially for women with dense breast tissue.
Tomosynthesis, or 3D breast screening, offers a much more detailed picture of breast tissue that makes it easier for radiologists to identify cancers. The 3D screening is performed the same as a 2D screening and patients won’t likely notice the difference and there is no difference in the exposure to radiation.
The older 2D screening technology provides only a few images of the front and side of the breast compared with the newer 3D screening that offers dozens of images that create a virtual 3D view of the breast. This 3D technology is especially useful in imaging for women with dense breast tissue. Both dense breast tissue and cancers appear white on a standard mammogram, which may make breast cancer more difficult to detect in dense breasts.
Studies have generally shown that the 3D test is better at detecting cancers than the 2D test, and women typically return less often to have additional images taken. This saves women the time, cost and stress of another screening. Dr. Swami shared that 3D mammography can improve detection rates of invasive cancers by up to 40 percent.
The Polyclinic was the first healthcare organization in Seattle to offer 3D mammography and now offers it exclusively.
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