Study: 3D mammography more effective than traditional mammograms


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DENVER -- A new study said 3D mammograms are more than forty percent better at detecting breast cancer than traditional mammograms.

For Denissa Cowley, an annual mammogram is a must.

“I had a hysterectomy when I was quite young, so it’s always been a concern that breast cancer could be a part of my future,” Cowley said.

When Cowley went in this time, doctors were concerned.

They detected some changes in the tissue and called her back for a 3D screening instead.

The 3D machine rotates all the way around the patient to get images from every angle. This type of test is especially useful for people with dense tissue.

“We’re able to see much more," said Dr. Lora Barke of Invision Sally Jobe Imaging Services in Denver. "We’re able to look through the breast tissue like we haven’t been able to before."

Barke has been using the 3D machines as part of a medical study to see if they can better detect cancer.

Results from a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association showed 3D mammograms are 41 percent more effective compared to traditional mammography equipment in detecting invasive and lethal breast cancers.

As for the test itself, Cowley said it was easy and painless.

“I had no idea that it was a different machine or anything, so to me it just seemed like business as usual,” she said.

Cowley’s results came back clean.

She said she now has complete peace of mind about her health.

“I left feeling like they did all they could do,” Cowley said. “I’m really grateful that I live in this time period that I can go and have an exam with this kind of technology.”

Barke said it is that attitude and optimism that excites her most about eventually making 3D mammograms the new standard for screenings.

“Breast cancer as a disease process does not have to be a death sentence anymore,” Barke added.

3D screenings are not available everywhere yet because the tests are more expensive than traditional tests.

However, doctors say they can save you money in the long-run because they eliminate the need for some other tests.

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