October 7, 2019

Advantages of 3D Mammography TM

The advantages of this new technology improve breast cancer detection rates.

Breast cancer remains one of the most common types of cancer among women in the U.S. and the second leading cause of cancer-related death in women. However, death rates from breast cancer have declined since the late 1980s, largely due to improvements in diagnostic technology, earlier detection rates, increased education and awareness, and improved treatment options.

Routine check-ups and exams should be a part of every woman’s health care. Davis Hospital and Medical Center’s Breast Care Center offers comprehensive breast health services, including:

• 3D MammogramsTM

• Digital mammograms

• Minimally invasive biopsy

• Breast MRI

• Breast ultrasound

• High-risk assessments and counseling

• Genetic BRCA testing

• Certified breast cancer navigators

How is 3D MammographyTM different from conventional mammography?

Conventional digital mammography produces only one image of the breast from two angles by overlapping the tissue horizontally and vertically, which makes it more difficult to detect cancers. According to the National Cancer Institute, about 20 percent of breast cancers go undetected through conventional mammography. Additionally, there is a higher risk of delivering a false positive result, meaning women may have to undergo more testing and likely a heightened level of anxiety.

The technology behind 3D MammographyTM, called tomosynthesis, allows radiologists to view the whole breast in greater detail. During 3D MammographyTM, a special imaging machine moves in an arc over the breast. Multiple images are acquired at different angles, creating a three-dimensional view of the breast. Radiologists can then view each layer of tissue— similar to leafing through individual pages of a book. Expanding the amount of tissues a radiologist can examine may result in increased detection rates of smaller, harder to see lesions in the breast and decreased false alarms.

Potential benefits of 3DTM Mammograms

• Earlier detection of small breast lesions, especially in dense breast tissue

• Increased accuracy in determining the size, shape, and location of breast abnormalities

• Decreased risk of false-positive results

• Reduced need for additional testing

• Clearer, more accurate images of breast tissue, especially in dense breasts

Is 3D MammographyTM the right test for you?

Although the medical community has not reached a definitive answer about whether some women should receive 3D MammographyTM over conventional mammography, many results from 3D MammographyTM are promising. As with any new diagnostic technology, long-term studies are currently underway, which may yield valuable feedback about the potential risks and benefits and help physicians refine the qualifications a patient should meet before receiving this type of mammogram.

Patients who may benefit from 3D MammographyTM include:

• Women with dense breast tissue

• Women who need a baseline mammogram to serve as the basis for comparison in later exams

• Women with family history of breast cancer

• Women who have a personal history of breast cancer

For now, it is important to speak with your physician about your options for diagnostic testing. 3D MammographyTM is not a substitute for conventional mammography, and it is currently performed in combination with conventional mammography on the same imaging machine. If 3D MammographyTM seems right for you, it is also necessary that you understand the overall process and potential risks associated with this type of testing.

For more information about 3D MammographyTM and to schedule your mammogram, call 801-807-7120 or visit

Cindy Stewart, MBA, RT(R)(T)(M)
Women's Imaging Regional Director
Steward Health Care

3D Mammography, 3D and Genius are trademarks and/or service marks of Hologic, Inc.