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3D Mammography Effective in Detecting Invasive Cancers

Update Date: Jun 24, 2014 04:01 PM EDT

Detecting and treating breast cancers as early as possible can greatly increase people's survival rates. According to a new study, researchers reported that three-dimensional mammography could identify more invasive cancers. This type of mammography also reduces the need for unnecessary recalls.

"This study confirms what we already know: 3D mammography finds more of the invasive, harmful cancers we want found and saves women the anxiety and cost of having additional exams for what turns out to be a false alarm," said the study's co-author Donna Plecha, MD, Director of Breast Imaging at University Hospitals Case Medical Center reported in the press release. "We already knew that breast screening saves lives and this study provides us with firm data that 3D mammography is a better test for detecting breast cancer early when it is treatable."

For this study, the researchers examined data provided from the University Hospitals Case Medical Center Seidman Cancer Center, which included almost half a million mammograms taken from 13 different facilities. The researchers calculated that 3D mammography increased the rate of successfully detecting invasive cancer by 41 percent. For breast cancer detection in general, 3D mammography increased the rate by 15 percent. It lowered the need for unnecessary recalls caused by false alarms by 15 percent. The researchers are optimistic that this new form of technology can improve breast cancer diagnoses and treatments.

"Breast cancers caught in the initial stages by mammography are more likely to be cured and are less likely to require chemotherapy or as extensive surgery," said Dr. Plecha, who is also Assistant Professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. "This study shows that 3D mammography is a more effective screening tool, and we must make it accessible to all women."

The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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