About 3-D mammography
More cancer-finding power without more radiation.
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What you need to know
Legacy offers 3-D mammograms to all patients because they can reveal more, so cancers are found earlier and more often. Most women survive breast cancer when it is found in its earliest stages. Plus, our 3-D technology can find more suspicious tissue without more radiation.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggested that 3-D mammography:
- Finds 41 percent more invasive breast cancers
- Finds 29 percent more breast cancers of all types
- Results in 15 percent fewer false alarms
What to expect
A 3-D screening exam takes the same amount of time (about 20 minutes) and feels the same as a traditional 2-D mammogram. A 3-D screening is more accurate and results in fewer false positive results. Ultimately, this means there’s less needless worry and anxiety for women.
Who should choose 3-D
All women can benefit from a 3-D mammogram, but they can be especially helpful if you have extremely dense breast tissue or have a family history of breast cancer. With dense breasts it is sometimes more difficult to see suspicious tissue. 3-D technology gives radiologists a more accurate view of the tissue.
If you have a family history of breast cancer, have dense breasts or other risk factors, 3-D mammography is our one of our best tools in detecting cancer early when it can be most easily treated.
How it is different than 2-D
2-D mammography creates two flat images of the breast — one from the top of the breast and one from the side. 3-D imaging (also known as tomosynthesis) provides images of the breast in many "slices,” which allows radiologists to examine the breast tissue layer by layer.
This makes it possible for doctors to see things that were hidden by overlapping tissue on 2-D mammograms. When doctors can get a better look at that tissue, they can more accurately identify abnormalities.
Most screening and diagnostic mammograms are covered by insurance. 3-D digital mammograms may have some additional costs, depending on your individual insurance plan. Many insurance companies and Medicare recognize the value of 3-D mammography and will cover its costs. Contact your insurance provider before your visit to ask about your coverage.
Understanding mammography and radiation exposure
Understanding dense breasts
Breastcancer.org: Benefits of 3-D mammograms last over time
National Cancer Institute: What is 3-D mammography?
NPR.org: When you need a mammogram, should you get one in 3-D?
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