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3D Mammography increases cancer detection

CINCINNATI (Alexis Chrisotoforous) -- A large, new study in JAMA found adding the 3D imaging technique called tomosynthesis to routine digital mammography increased cancer detection and reduced the number of patients called back for additional testing.

Lori Safer's mammogram turned up something suspicious. The 54-year-old mother of two decided to get a closer look with a 3D mammogram.

Lori said, "They said, 'We don't like how it looks on this 3D, we have to take this out.'  So they took out the lump and it came up cancer."

A study of nearly half a million women found screening with both 3D imaging and digital mammography detected 41 percent more invasive cancers than just traditional mammography alone.

Dr. Sarah Friedewald, lead author and advocate at Lutheran General Hospital, said, "If you think of a book, we are able to page through the breast with one millimeter slices and see inside the breast."

That closer look resulted in 15 percent fewer unnecessary follow-up tests because of false alarms.
"I expect 3D to largely replace the standard 2D over time as it becomes more accessible to patients," Dr. Friedewald said.

Safer opted for a bilateral mastectomy, "It was stage one and they got it in time and I just feel very happy."

There is still controversy over whether early breast cancer detection leads to better outcomes but Safer is convinced her 3D mammogram saved her life. 

An MRI is still recommended for women at high risk of getting breast cancer.

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