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Breast Tomosynthesis Video
Early detection through screening mammography is one of the key reasons that death rates from breast cancer have been declining since the 1990s.
Breast tomosynthesis is an advanced mammography application approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a screening and diagnostic tool for the detection of breast cancer.
Breast tomosynthesis generates 3-dimensionsal images of the breast, allowing radiologists to examine fine details of breast tissue 1 mm at a time, free from the confusion of overlapping tissues.
Prompt annual mammography has shown the ability to significantly reduce the mortality ratefrom breast cancer. However, as good as the technology is, traditional 2D mammography has some shortcomings:
For every 1,000 women screened, 1 breast cancer will be missed and will continue to grow until detected on a subsequent screening exam.
Many of the limitations of 2D mammography can be attributed to the effects of superimposed (overlapping) tissues.
When breast tissue is viewed in a single, flat image, different structures located at different heights within the breast can overlap.
As a result, small breast cancers may be hidden, resulting in a false-negative result, or normal structures can blend together to give the appearance of pathology, resulting in a false-positive reading.
Unlike prior-generation mammography systems which generate 2-dimensional images, breast tomosynthesis produces 3-dimensional images which reveal the inner architecture of the breast free from the superimposition of overlying structures.
A tomosynthesis scan virtually eliminates detection challenges associated with overlapping structures in the breast and reduces the occurrence of both false negatives and false positives.
According to the American Cancer Society, 5-year survival rates are nearly 100% when breast cancers are detected early, before they have spread to lymph nodes or other organs.
Finding cancers that would have been missed by 2D mammography gives patients and their doctors a head start on life-saving treatments.
Early detection opens up a wider range of treatment options, such as breast-conserving surgery, which may be less traumatic to the patient.
Some key points to use in discussing this technology with patients include:
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