While conventional mammography is the most widely used tool for breast cancer screenings, a new study from the University of Pennsylvania indicates that digital breast tomosynthesis – or 3D mammography – may be better able to detect the disease.
In a presentation at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania concluded that 3D mammography provides doctors with more accurate imaging of a woman’s breasts – leading to fewer false positives and better cancer detection rates.
For the study, researchers compared the scans of 15,633 women who underwent 3D mammography with the scans of 10,753 women who underwent conventional mammography.
Overall, the researchers discovered that 3D mammography decreased the rate at which patients needed to be recalled for further testing from 10.40 percent to 8.78 percent. Furthermore, the positive detection rate – the proportion of positive mammograms resulting in a cancer diagnosis – increased by 46 percent.
“It’s the most exciting improvement to mammography that I have seen in my career, even more important than the conversion from film-screen mammography to digital mammography,” said study author Dr. Emily F. Conant, chief of breast imaging in the department of radiology at the University of Pennsylvania. “The coming years will be very exciting, as we see further improvements in this innovative technology.”