Sometimes it takes a Genius™ to detect invasive breast cancer.
The latest in breast cancer screening advances, Genius™ 3D digital breast mammography is now available at the Elaine M. Junca Women’s Imaging Centre. Three-dimensional digital breast mammography, also called tomosynthesis, is revolutionary technology that allows for 15 consecutive images to be taken from different angles across the breast to produce a 3D-slice image.
Dr. Philip Meyer, board-certified breast radiologist with the Women’s Imaging Centre, said 3D mammography has become the “gold standard” for superior breast imaging. Patients may benefit from 3D mammography if they have any density of breast tissue, have had previous mammograms that were ambiguous or inconclusive, have been called back for repeat breast scans, have undergone biopsies for suspicious masses or lesions or have a family history of breast cancer.
Does 3D ultrasound replace mammography? Absolutely not. Mammography is considered the gold standard in breast screening, but it misses or overlooks roughly 10 percent of the cancers in women with dense breast tissue. A single screening ultrasound following a standard mammogram increases detection of breast cancers that are small.
What is the exam process like? You lie on a table and an ultrasound technologist will apply lotion to your breast. A thin membrane is attached to the ultrasound scanner to minimize breast movement and the scanner is placed on your breast. Each scan takes approximately 60 seconds and typically three scans are done on each breast. The exam is relatively painless.
Three-dimensional (3D) mammography, also known as digital mammography with tomosynthesis, is the latest technology in breast mammography. X-ray machines are used to take pictures of thin slices of the breast from different angles and computer software is used to reconstruct an image. This process is similar to how a computed tomography (CT) scanner produces images of structures inside of the body.
Benefits of a 3D Mammogram
- Multiple studies have reported that 3D mammography significantly increases breast cancer detection, with a more than 40% increase in the detection of invasive cancers
- Earlier detection of breast cancers
- Clearer lesion image
- Reduction in the number of unnecessary biopsies, minimizing patient anxiety and unnecessary costs
3D mammography is recommended for patients who have the following:
- Previous mammograms with ambiguous or inconclusive results
- Dense breast tissue
- Been previously called back for repeat breast scans
- Undergone biopsies for suspicious masses or lesions in the past
- Breast cancer, or have a family history of cancer
Dense tissue slightly elevates the risk of developing breast cancer and it can also cause difficulty for the radiologist when reading the results of your exam. However, unless you have had a prior mammogram or discussion with your primary care physician, you might be unsure if this condition applies to you. If you require a recommendation, please talk with your mammography technologist who will be glad to discuss breast density with you and make a recommendation.